Skip to main content

Full text of "Ghosts. True Encounters with the World Beyond"

See other formats


GHOSTS 


TRUE  ENCOUNTERS 
WITH  WORLD  BEYOND 


» 


GHOSTS 

TRUE  ENCOUNTERS 
WITH  WORLD  BEYOND 


HANS  HOLZER 


By  the  author  of 
Witches  and  Hans 
Holzer’s  Travel  Guide 
to  Haunted  Houses 


Paperbacks 


. 


Copyright  © 1997  by  Aspera  Ad  Astra  Inc. 

First  paperback  edition  2004 

All  rights  reserved.  No  part  of  this  book  may  be  reproduced  in  any  form  or  by  any  electronic  or  mechanical  means 
including  information  storage  and  retrieval  systems  without  written  permission  from  the  publisher. 

Published  by 

Black  Dog  & Leventhal  Publishers,  Inc. 

151  West  1 9th  Street 
New  York,  NY  10011 

Distributed  by 

Workman  Publishing  Company 

708  Broadway 

New  York,  NY  10003 

Designed  by  Martin  Lubin  Graphic  Design 
Typesetting  by  Kryon  Graphics,  India 

Manufactured  in  the  United  States  of  America 

ISBN:  1-57912-401-1 
hgfedcba 


Holzer,  Hans,  1920- 

Ghosts/by  Hans  Holzer. 
p.  cm. 

Includes  bibliographical  references. 

ISBN  1-57912-401-1 
1.  Ghosts.  2.  Supernatural.  I.  Title. 
GR580.H56  1997 

133.1— dc21 


96-52613 

CIP 


CONTENTS 


INTRODUCTION 
CHAPTER  ONE 
CHAPTER  TWO 
CHAPTER  THREE 
CHAPTER  FOUR 
CHAPTER  FIVE 


11 

The  Nature  of  Life  and  Death  13 

What  Every  Would-be  Ghost  Hunter  Should  Know  23 

Ghosts  and  the  World  of  the  Living  29 

What  Exactly  Is  a Ghost?  45 

Famous  Ghosts  57 

1 The  Conference  House  Ghost 

2 The  Stranger  at  the  Door 

3 A Visit  with  Alexander  Hamilton’s  Ghost 

4 The  Fifth  Avenue  Ghost 

5 The  Case  of  the  Murdered  Financier 

6 The  Rockland  County  Ghost 

7 A Revolutionary  Corollary:  Patrick  Henry,  Nathan  Hale,  et  al. 

8 The  Vindication  of  Aaron  Burr 

9 Assassination  of  a President:  Lincoln,  Booth,  and  the  Traitors  Within 

1 0 A Visit  with  Woodrow  Wilson 

1 1 Ring  Around  the  White  House 

12  The  Ill-Fated  Kennedys:  From  Visions  to  Ghosts 

13  Michie  Tavern,  Jefferson,  and  the  Boys 

14  A Visit  with  the  Spirited  Jefferson 

1 5 Major  Andre  and  the  Question  of  Loyalty 

16  Benedict  Arnold’s  Friend 

1 7 The  Haverstraw  Ferry  Case 

1 8 “Ship  of  Destiny”:  The  U.S.F.  Constellation 

19  The  Truth  About  Camelot 

20  Her  Name  Was  Trouble:  The  Secret  Adventure  of  Nell  Gwyn 

2 1 Ghosts  Around  Vienna 

22  The  Secret  of  Mayerling 

23  Royalty  and  Ghosts 

24  A Visit  with  Robert  Louis  Stevenson 

25  Bloody  Mary’s  Ghost 

26  Spectral  Mary,  Queen  of  Scots 

27  Renvyle 

28  Is  This  You,  Jean  Harlow? 

29  Do  the  Barrymores  Still  Live  Here? 

30  The  Latest  Adventures  of  the  Late  Clifton  Webb 

31  The  Haunted  Rocking  Chair  at  Ash  Lawn 

32  A Visit  with  Carole  Lombard’s  Ghost 

33  Mrs.  Surratt’s  Ghost  at  Fort  McNair 


Contents 


5 


CHAPTER  SIX  This  House  Is  Haunted 


233 


34  The  Bank  Street  Ghost 

35  The  Whistling  Ghost 

36  The  Metuchen  Ghost 

37  A Greenwich  Village  Ghost 

38  The  Hauntings  at  Seven  Oaks 

39  The  Central  Park  West  Ghost 

40  The  Ghosts  at  St.  Mark’s 

4 1 The  Clinton  Court  Ghosts 

42  Hungry  Lucy 

43  The  House  Ghost  of  Bergenville 

44  The  Riverside  Ghost 

45  Ocean-Born  Mary 

46  The  Ghosts  of  Stamford  Hill 

47  The  “Spy  House”  Ghosts  of  New  Jersey 

48  The  Strange  Case  of  the  Colonial  Soldier 

49  The  House  on  Plant  Avenue 

50  The  Whaley  House  Ghosts 

51  The  Ghost  at  the  Altar 

52  A Ghost’s  Last  Refuge 

53  The  Octagon  Ghosts 

54  The  Octagon  Revisited 

55  The  Integration  Ghost 

56  The  Ardmore  Boulevard  Ghosts 

57  The  Ghost  WTio  Refused  to  Leave 

58  The  Haunted  Motorcycle  Workshop 

59  Encountering  the  Ghostly  Monks 

60  The  Somerset  Scent  (Pennsylvania) 

61  The  House  of  Evil  (New  York) 

62  The  Specter  in  the  Hallway  (Long  Island) 

63  The  Bayberry  Perfume  Ghost  (Philadelphia) 

64  The  Headless  Grandfather  (Georgia) 

65  The  Old  Merchant’s  House  Ghost  (New  York  City) 

66  The  House  on  Fifth  Street  (New  Jersey) 

67  Morgan  Hall  (Long  Island) 

68  The  Guardian  of  the  Adobe  (California) 

69  The  Mynah  Bird  (Canada) 

70  The  Terror  on  the  Farm  (Connecticut) 

71  A California  Ghost  Story 

72  The  Ghostly  Usher  of  Minneapolis 

73  The  Ghostly  Adventures  of  a North  Carolina  Family 

74  Reba’s  Ghost 

75  Henny  from  Brooklyn 

76  Longleat’s  Ghosts 

77  The  Ghosts  at  Blanchard 

78  The  Ghosts  of  Edinburgh 

79  The  Ghostly  Monk  of  Monkton 

80  Scottish  Country  Ghosts 

8 1 The  Ghost  on  the  Kerry  Coast 

82  Haunted  Kilkea  Castle,  Kildare 


Contents 


83  The  Ghosts  at  Skryne  Castle 

84  Ghost  Hunting  in  County  Mayo 

85  The  Ghost  at  La  Tour  Malakoff,  Paris 

86  Haunted  Wolfsegg  Fortress,  Bavaria 

87  A Haunted  Former  Hospital  in  Zurich 

88  The  Lady  from  Long  Island 

89  The  Ghost  of  the  Olympia  Theatre 

90  The  Haunted  Rectory 

91  The  Haunted  Seminary 

92  The  Ghostly  Sailor  of  Alameda 

93  The  Ghost  Clock 

94  The  Ghost  of  Gay  Street 

95  The  Ship  Chandler’s  Ghost 

96  The  Ghost-Servant  Problem  at  Ringwood  Manor 

97  The  Phantom  Admiral 

98  The  Ghosts  in  the  Basement 

99  Miss  Boyd  of  Charles  Street,  Manhattan 

100  The  Haunted  Ranch  at  Newbury  Park,  California 

101  The  Narrowsburgh  Ghost 

102  The  Ghost  in  the  Pink  Bedroom 

103  The  Poughkeepsie  Rectory  Ghost 

104  The  Ghost  at  West  Point 

105  The  Stenton  House,  Cincinnati 

106  The  Ghost  at  El  Centro 

107  The  Ghostly  Stagecoach  Inn 

108  Mrs.  Dickeys  Ghostly  Companions 

109  The  “Presence”  on  the  Second-Floor  Landing 

1 1 0 The  Oakton  Haunt 

1 1 1 The  Restless  Ghost  of  the  Sea  Captain 

112  The  Confused  Ghost  of  the  Trailer  Park 

113  The  Ghost  Who  Would  Not  Leave 

1 14  The  Ghost  at  Port  Clyde 

115  A Plymouth  Ghost 

1 16  The  Ghosts  at  the  Morris-Jumel  Mansion 

CHAPTER  SEVEN  Haunted  Places  541 

1 1 7 The  Case  of  the  Lost  Head 

1 1 8 The  Woman  on  the  Train  (Switzerland) 

1 1 9 The  Lady  of  the  Garden  (California) 

1 20  The  Ghost  Car  (Kansas) 

1 2 1 The  Ghostly  Monks  of  Aetna  Springs 

1 22  Who  Landed  First  in  America? 

123  The  Haunted  Organ  at  Yale 

124  The  Ghost  on  Television 

125  The  Gray  Man  of  Pawley’s  Island  (South  Carolina) 

126  Haunted  Westover  (Virginia) 

127  The  Case  of  the  I.R. A.  Ghosts 

128  The  Last  Ride 

129  The  San  Francisco  Ghost  Bride 


The  Nature  of  Life  and  Death 


CHAPTER  EIGHT  Haunted  People  593 

130  The  Strange  Death  of  Valerie  K. 

131  The  Warning  Ghost 

132  Jacqueline 

1 33  The  Wurmbrand  Curse 

134  Dick  Turpin,  My  Love 

135  The  Restless  Dead 

136  The  Devil  in  the  Flesh  (Kansas) 

137  The  Case  of  the  Buried  Miners 

138  The  Ghostly  Lover 

139  The  Vineland  Ghost 

1 40  Amityville,  America’s  Best- Known  Haunted  House 

CHAPTER  NINE  Stay-Behinds  631 

141  When  The  Dead  Stay  On 

142  Alabama  Stay-Behinds 

143  Arkansas  Stay-Behinds 

144  Georgia  Stay-Behinds 

145  A Tucker  Ghost 

146  The  Howard  Mansion  Ghost 

147  The  Stay-Behinds:  Not  Ready  to  Go 

148  Rose  Hall,  Home  of  the  "White  Witch”  of  Jamaica 

149  There  Is  Nothing  Like  a Scottish  Ghost 

150  The  Strange  Case  of  Mrs.  C’s  Late  but  Lively  Husband 

1 5 1 The  Ghost  of  the  Little  White  Flower 

1 52  Raynham  Hall 

153  The  Ghost  of  the  Pennsylvania  Boatsman 

CHAPTER  TEN  Poltergeists  667 

1 54  The  Devil  in  Texas 

155  Diary  of  a Poltergeist 

1 56  The  Millbrae  Poltergeist  Case 

1 57  The  Ghosts  of  Barbery  Lane 

158  The  Garricks  Head  Inn,  Bath 

CHAPTER  ELEVEN  Ghosts  That  Aren’t  707 

Contacts  and  Visits  by  Spirits 

When  the  Dead  Reach  Out  to  the  Living 

Unfinished  Business 

When  the  Dead  Help  the  Living 

159  Vivien  Leigh’s  Post-Mortem  Photograph 

160  How  the  Dead  Teacher  Said  Good-bye 
Bilocation  or  the  Etheric  Double  of  a Living  Person 
Astral  Projections  or  Out-of-Body  Experiences 
Psychic  Imprints  of  the  Past 

161  The  Monks  of  Winchester  Cathedral 

162  The  Secret  of  Ballinguile 


Contents 

L 8 


CHAPTER  TWELVE  Psychic  Photography — The  Visual  Proof  741 

Communications  from  Beyond  through  Photography: 

Track  Record  and  Test  Conditions 
The  Mediumship  of  John  Myers 
Authentic  “Spirit  Pictures”  Taken  at  Seances 
Spirit  Photography  at  a Camp 
Some  Unexpected  Spirit  Faces 
Photographing  Materializations 

The  Physician,  Catherine  the  Great,  and  Polaroid  Spirit  Photography 
Mae  Burrows  Ghostly  Family  Picture 
A Ghostly  Apparition  in  the  Sky 
The  Parish  House  Ghosts 

BOOKS  PREVIOUSLY  PUBLISHED  BY  HANS  HOLZER  759 


Contents 


9 


Hans  Holzer  Is  the  Author  of  1 19  books,  including  Life  Beyond,  The  Directory 
of  Psychics,  America’s  Mysterious  Places,  Windows  to  the  Past,  and  Witches. 

He  has  written,  produced,  and  hosted  a number  of  television  programs,  notably 
“Ghost  in  the  House,”  “Beyond  the  Five  Senses,”  and  the  NBC  series  “In  Search 
of. . He  has  appeared  on  numerous  national  television  programs  and  lectured  widely. 
He  has  written  for  national  magazines  such  as  Mademoiselle,  Penthouse,  Longevity, 
and  columns  in  national  weeklies. 

Hans  Holzer  studied  at  Vienna  University,  Austria;  Columbia  University,  New 
York;  and  holds  a Ph.D.  from  the  London  College  of  Applied  Science.  Professor 
Holzer  taught  parapsychology  for  eight  years  at  the  New  York  Institute  of  Technology, 
is  a member  of  the  Authors  Guild,  Writers  Guild  of  America,  Dramatists’ 

Guild,  the  New  York  Academy  of  Science,  and  the  Archaeological  Institute  of 
America.  He  is  listed  in  Who’s  Who  in  America  and  lives  in  New  York  City. 


Introduction 


As  we  settle  more  securely  into  the  new  millennium,  people's  interests  in  the  cosmic  continue  to 
grow.  Even  ordinary  Joes  and  Janes  who  normally  wouldn't  be  caught  dead  reading  an  astrology  col- 
umn are  suddenly  wondering  what  the  second  millennium  will  mean  for  them  and  this  world  of 
ours. 

To  begin  with,  the  millennium  came  and  went  over  a decade  ago.  Jesus  was  born  not  the  the 
year  zero  but  in  7 B.C.,  on  October  9,  to  be  exact,  as  I proved  quite  a while  ago  after  fifteen  years  of 
archeological  research.  This  business  of  the  millennium  was  strictly  hype,  a promotion  that  was 
created  to  make  people  think  something  very  special  would  happen  in  the  year  2000.  The  psycholog- 
ical effects  of  this  "millennium,”  however,  are  already  upon  us — casting  a shadow  in  terms  of  a 
renewed  great  interest  in  things  paranormal,  for  instance. 

Several  new  TV  talk  shows  and  documentaries  dealing  with  psychic  phenomena  and  the  explo- 
ration of  the  frontiers  of  human  consciousness  have  sprung  up,  filling  the  television  screens  with 
tabloid  tidbits  often  lacking  in  depth  and  validating  research.  Fictional  forays  into  worlds  beyond  are 
also  currently  hugely  successful  both  in  film  and  television,  and  in  books  and  even  Websites. 

As  a purveyor  of  genuine  information  regarding  psychic  phenomena,  I welcome  this  resurgence 
of  curiosity  in  worlds  beyond  the  physical  because  contemplating  these  matters  tends  to  make  people 
think  about  themselves,  their  ultimate  fate,  and  the  nature  of  humankind  itself. 

When  it  comes  to  dealing  with  the  hard  evidence  of  life  after  death,  there  are  three  classes  of 
people — and  this  may  remain  the  case  for  a long  time  to  come,  considering  how  resistant  humans  are 
to  embracing  radically  new  or  different  concepts. 

There  are  those  who  ridicule  the  idea  of  anything  beyond  the  grave.  This  category  includes 
anybody  from  hard-line  scientists  to  people  who  are  only  comfortable  with  the  familiar,  material 
world  and  really  do  not  wish  to  examine  any  evidence  that  might  change  their  minds.  The  will  to 
disbelieve  is  far  stronger  than  the  will  to  believe — though  neither  leads  to  proof  and  hard  evidence. 

Then  there  are  those  who  have  already  accepted  the  evidence  of  a continued  existence  beyond 
physical  death,  including  people  who  have  arrived  at  this  conclusion  through  an  examination  of  hard 
evidence,  either  personal  in  nature  or  from  scientifically  valid  sources.  They  are  the  group  I respect 
the  most,  because  they  are  not  blind  believers.  They  rightfully  question  the  evidence,  but  they  have 
no  problem  accepting  it  when  it  is  valid.  Included  in  this  group  are  the  religious -metaphysical  folks, 
although  they  require  no  hard  proof  to  validate  their  convictions,  which  emanate  from  a belief  sys- 
tem that  involves  a world  beyond  this  one. 

The  third  group  is  often  thrown  offtrack  when  trying  to  get  at  the  truth  by  the  folks  in  the 
metaphysical  camp.  This  makes  it  more  difficult  for  them  to  arrive  at  a proper  conviction  regarding 
the  psychic.  The  thing  for  this  third  group  is  to  stick  to  its  principles  and  not  become  blind 
believers. 

The  vast  majority  of  people  belong  to  the  third  group.  They  are  aware  of  the  existence  of  psy- 
chical phenomena  and  the  evidence  for  such  phenomena,  including  case  histories  and  scientific 
investigations  by  open-minded  individuals.  But  they  may  be  skeptical.  They  hesitate  to  join  the  sec- 
ond group  only  because  of  their  own  inner  resistance  to  such  fundamental  changes  in  their  philo- 
sophical attitudes  toward  life  and  death.  For  them,  therefore,  the  need  to  be  specific  when  presenting 
evidence  or  case  histories,  which  must  be  fully  verifiable,  is  paramount,  as  is  an  acceptable  explana- 
tion for  their  occurrence. 

It  is  hoped  that  those  in  the  second  group  will  embrace  the  position  of  the  last  group:  that 
there  are  no  boundaries  around  possibilities,  provided  that  the  evidence  bears  it  out. 


Prof.  Hans  Holzer,  Ph.D. 


CHAPTER  ONE 


The  Nature  of 
Life  and  Death 


WHAT  IS  MAN?  WHY  IS  MAN?  HOW  IS  MAN? 

To  fully  understand  the  existence  of  ghosts,  one  needs  to  come  to  grips  with  the  nature  of  life — and 
death.  Ghosts,  apparitions,  messages  from  beyond,  and  psychic  experiences  involving  a loved  one  or 
friend  who  has  passed  away  all  presuppose  that  the  receiver  or  observer  accept  the  reality  of  another 
dimension  into  which  we  all  pass  at  one  time  or  another.  A die-hard  (if  you  pardon  the  pun)  commit- 
ted to  pure  material  reality,  even  atheism,  will  not  be  comfortable  with  the  subject  of  this  book.  But 
the  subject  of  ghosts  just  won’t  go  away.  They  have  always  been  with  us,  under  one  designation  or 
another,  depending  on  the  time  period,  culture,  or  religious  orientation  of  the  people  to  whom  the 
experiences  have  occurred. 

This  is  certainly  not  a matter  of  belief"  in”  a reality  other  than  the  ordinary  three-dimensional 
one.  It  is,  to  the  contrary,  an  awareness  that  we  all  have  within  us  another  component  that  passes  on  to 
the  next  stage  of  life  fully  intact  in  most  cases,  and  somewhat  disturbed  in  some.  For  everyone,  except 
the  skeptic,  the  evidence  of  this  is  overwhelming.  For  the  skeptic  all  of  this  will  always  be  unaccept- 
able, no  matter  how  concrete  the  grounds  for  believing.  Above  all,  the  nature  of  life  and  death  requires 
a full  understanding  of  the  nature  of  man.  One  must  come  to  this  from  an  unbiased  point  of  view, 
unafraid  of  the  philosophical  consequences  of  making  adjustments  in  one’s  attitude  toward  life  and 
death. 

Although  humans  have  walked  on  the  moon  and  will  soon  reach  for  the  stars,  we  have  yet  to 
learn  what  we  are.  After  millions  of  years  of  existence  on  this  planet,  we  are  still  unable  to  come  to 
grips  with  the  most  important  question  of  all:  What  is  man?  Why  is  man?  How  is  man? 

To  toss  the  problem  of  man  into  the  lap  of  religion  by  judging  it  to  be  the  whim  of  an  omnipo- 
tent creator  is  merely  to  beg  the  question.  Even  if  we  were  to  accept  uncritically  the  notion  of  instanta- 
neous creation  by  a superior  force,  it  would  leave  unanswered  the  questions  that  would  immediately 
arise  from  such  a notion:  Who  created  the  creator? 

The  Nature  of  Life  and  Death 


13 


To  go  the  other  end  of  the  scale  and  ascribe  our  exis- 
tence to  a slow  process  of  natural  evolution  in  which  parti- 
cles of  matter — chemicals — were  mixed  in  certain  ways  to 
form  larger  pieces  of  matter  and  ultimately  reached  the 
stage  where  life  began  sounds  like  a more  sensible  approach 
to  the  puzzle  of  our  existence.  But  only  on  the  surface.  For 
if  we  were  to  accept  the  theory  of  evolution — and  there  is 
good  enough  evidence  that  is  valid — we  would  still  be 
faced  with  the  very  problem  religion  leaves  us:  Who 
arranged  things  in  this  way,  so  that  infinitesimal  bits  of 
matter  would  join  to  create  life  and  follow  what  is  obvi- 
ously an  orderly  pattern  of  development? 

Whether  we  are  theistic  or  atheistic,  materialistic  or 
idealistic,  the  end  result,  as  I see  it,  seems  to  lead  to  the 
same  door.  That  door,  however,  is  closed.  Behind  it  lies  the 
one  big  answer  man  has  searched  for,  consciously  or 
unconsciously,  since  the  dawn  of  time. 

Is  man  an  animal,  derived  from  the  primates,  as  Dr. 
Desmond  Morris  asserted  in  The  Naked  Ape?  Is  he  merely 
an  accidental  development,  whereby  at  one  point  in  time  a 
large  ape  became  a primitive  man? 

To  this  day,  this  hypothesis  is  unacceptable  to  large 
segments  of  the  population.  The  revulsion  against  such  a 
hypothesis  stems  largely  from  strongly  entrenched  funda- 
mentalist religious  feelings  rather  than  from  any  enlight- 
ened understanding  that  knows  better  than  Darwin.  When 
religion  goes  against  science,  even  imperfect  science,  it  is 
bound  to  lose  out. 

On  the  other  hand,  the  less  violent  but  much  more 
effective  resistance,  by  scientists,  doctors,  and  intellectuals, 
to  the  hypothesis  that  supports  man’s  spontaneous  creation 
by  a superior  being  is  so  widespread  today  that  it  has  made 
heavy  inroads  in  church  attendance  and  forced  the  religious 
denominations  to  think  of  new  approaches  to  lure  large 
segments  of  the  population  back  into  the  fold,  or  at  least  to 
interest  them  in  the  nonreligious  aspects  of  the  church.  But 
the  professionals  and  intellectuals  are  by  no  means  alone  in 
their  rejection  of  traditional  views.  A large  majority  of  stu- 
dents, on  both  college  and  high  school  levels,  are  nonbe- 
lievers or  outright  cynics.  They  don’t  always  cherish  that 
position,  but  they  have  not  found  an  alternative.  At  least 
they  had  not  until  ESP  (extrasensory  perception)  came  along 
to  offer  them  a glimpse  at  a kind  of  immorality  that  their 
scientific  training  could  let  them  accept. 

To  the  average  person,  then,  the  problem  of  what 
man  is  remains  unsolved  and  as  puzzling  as  ever.  But  this 
is  not  true  of  the  psychic  or  esoteric  person. 

An  increasing  number  of  people  throughout  the 
world  have  at  one  time  or  another  encountered  personal 
proof  of  man’s  immortality.  To  them,  their  own  experi- 
ences are  sufficient  to  assure  them  that  we  are  part  of  a 
greater  scheme  of  things,  with  some  sort  of  superior  law 
operating  for  the  benefit  of  all.  They  do  not  always  agree 
on  what  form  this  superior  force  takes,  and  they  generally 

CHAPTER  ONE:  The  Nature  of  Life  and  Death 


reject  the  traditional  concepts  of  a personal  God,  but  they 
acknowledge  the  existence  of  an  orderly  scheme  of  things 
and  the  continuance  of  life  as  we  know  it  beyond  the  barri- 
ers of  death  and  time. 

Many  of  those  who  accept  in  varying  degrees  spiri- 
tual concepts  of  life  after  death  do  so  uncritically.  They 
believe  from  a personal,  emotional  point  of  view.  They 
merely  replace  a formal  religion  with  an  informal  one. 
They  replace  a dogma  they  find  outmoded,  and  not  borne 
out  by  the  facts  as  they  know  them,  with  a flexible,  seem- 
ingly sensible  system  to  which  they  can  relate 
enthusiastically. 

It  seems  to  me  that  somewhere  in  between  these 
orthodox  and  heterodox  elements  lies  the  answer  to  the 
problem.  If  we  are  ever  to  find  the  human  solution  and 
know  what  man  is,  why  he  is,  and  how  he  is,  we  must  take 
into  account  all  the  elements,  strip  them  of  their  fallacies, 
and  retain  the  hard-core  facts.  In  correlating  the  facts  we 
find,  we  can  then  construct  an  edifice  of  thought  that  may 
solve  the  problem  and  give  us  the  ultimate  answers  we  are 
seeking. 

What  is  life?  From  birth,  life  is  an  evolution  through 
gradual,  successive  stages  of  development,  that  differ  in 
detail  with  each  and  every  human  being.  Materialistic  sci- 
ence likes  to  ascribe  these  unique  tendencies  to  environ- 
ment and  parental  heritage  alone.  Astrology,  a very 
respectable  craft  when  properly  used,  claims  that  the  radia- 
tion from  the  planets,  the  sun,  and  the  moon  influences  the 
body  of  the  newly  born  from  birth  or,  according  to  some 
astrological  schools,  even  from  the  moment  of  conception. 
One  should  not  reject  the  astrological  theory  out  of  hand. 
After  all,  the  radiation  of  man-made  atom  bombs  affected 
the  children  of  Hiroshima,  and  the  radiation  from  the  cos- 
mos is  far  greater  and  of  far  longer  duration.  We  know 
very  little  about  radiation  effects  as  yet. 

That  man  is  essentially  a dual  creature  is  no  longer 
denied  even  by  medical  science.  Psychiatry  could  not  exist 
were  it  not  for  the  acknowledgment  that  man  has  a mind, 
though  the  mind  is  invisible.  Esoteric  teaching  goes  even 
further:  man  has  a soul,  and  it  is  inserted  into  the  body  of 
the  newborn  at  the  moment  of  birth.  Now  if  the  soul  joins 
the  body  only  at  or  just  before  the  moment  of  birth,  then  a 
fetus  has  no  personality,  according  to  this  view,  and  abor- 
tion is  not  a "sin.”  Some  orthodox  religions  do  not  hold 
this  view  and  consider  even  an  unborn  child  a full  person. 

It  is  pretty  difficult  to  prove  objectively  either  assertion, 
but  it  is  not  impossible  to  prove  scientifically  and  rationally 
that  man  after  birth  has  a nonphysical  component,  vari- 
ously called  soul,  psyche,  psi,  or  personality. 

What  is  death,  then?  The  ceasing  of  bodily  functions 
due  to  illness  or  malfunction  of  a vital  organ  reverses  the 
order  of  what  occurred  at  birth.  Now  the  two  components 
of  man  are  separated  again  and  go  in  different  directions. 
The  body,  deprived  of  its  operating  force,  is  nothing  more 
than  a shell  and  subject  to  ordinary  laws  affecting  matter. 
Under  the  influence  of  the  atmosphere,  it  will  rapidly 


14 


decompose  and  is  therefore  quickly  disposed  of  in  all  cul- 
tures. It  returns  to  the  earth  in  various  forms  and  con- 
tributes its  basic  chemicals  to  the  soil  or  water. 

The  soul,  on  the  other  hand,  continues  its  journey 
into  what  the  late  Dr.  Joseph  Rhine  of  Duke  University 
called  "the  world  of  mind.”  That  is,  to  those  who  believe 
there  is  a soul,  it  enters  the  world  of  the  mind;  to  those 
who  reject  the  very  notion  of  a soul  factor,  the  decompos- 
ing body  represents  all  the  remains  of  man  at  death.  It  is 
this  concept  that  breeds  fear  of  death,  fosters  nihilistic  atti- 
tudes toward  life  while  one  lives  it,  and  favors  the  entire 
syndrome  of  expressions  such  as  “death  is  the  end,”  “fear 
the  cemetery,”  and  “funerals  are  solemn  occasions.” 

Death  takes  on  different  powers  in  different  cultures. 
To  primitive  man  it  was  a vengeful  god  who  took  loved 
ones  away  when  they  were  still  needed. 

To  the  devout  Christian  of  the  Middle  Ages,  death 
was  the  punishment  one  had  to  fear  all  one’s  life,  for  after 
death  came  the  reckoning. 

West  Africans  and  their  distant  cousins,  the  Haitians, 
worship  death  in  a cult  called  the  “Papa  Nebo”  cult. 

Spanish  and  Irish  Catholics  celebrate  the  occasions  of 
death  with  elaborate  festivities,  because  they  wish  to  help 
the  departed  receive  a good  reception  in  the  afterlife. 

Only  in  the  East  does  death  play  a benign  role.  In 
the  spiritually  advanced  beliefs  of  the  Chinese,  the  Indians, 
and  the  ancient  Egyptians,  death  was  the  beginning,  not 
the  end.  Death  marked  the  gate  to  a higher  consciousness, 
and  it  is  because  of  this  philosophy  that  the  dreary  aspects 
of  funerals  as  we  know  them  in  the  West  are  totally  absent 
from  eastern  rites.  They  mark  their  funerals,  of  course,  but 
not  with  the  sense  of  finality  and  sadness  that  pervade  the 
western  concept.  Perhaps  this  benigness  has  some  connec- 
tion with  the  strong  belief  in  a hereafter  that  the  people  of 
the  East  hold,  as  opposed  to  the  Western  world,  which 
offers,  aside  from  a minority  of  fundamentalists  to  whom 
the  Bible  has  spelled  out  everything  without  further  need 
of  clarification,  faith  in  an  afterlife  but  has  no  real  convic- 
tion that  it  exists. 

There  is  scarcely  a religion  that  does  not  accept  the 
continuance  of  life  beyond  death  in  one  form  or  another. 
There  are  some  forms  of  “reform”  Judaism  and  some 
extremely  liberal  Christian  denominations  that  stress  the 
morality  aspects  of  their  religions  rather  than  basic  belief  in 
a soul  and  its  survival  after  death  in  a vaguely  defined 
heaven  or  hell.  Communism  in  its  pure  Marxist  form, 
which  is  of  course  a kind  of  religion,  goes  out  of  its  way  to 
denounce  the  soul  concept. 

Not  a single  religious  faith  tries  to  rationalize  its 
tenets  of  immortality  in  scientifically  valid  terms.  Orthodox 
Catholicism  rejects  the  inquiry  itself  as  unwanted  or  at  the 
very  least  proper  only  for  those  inside  the  professional  hier- 
archy of  the  church.  Some  Protestant  denominations,  espe- 
cially fundamentalists,  find  solace  in  biblical  passages  that 
they  interpret  as  speaking  out  against  any  traffic  with  death 
or  inquiry  into  areas  dealing  with  psychic  phenomena.  The 


vast  majority  of  faiths,  however,  neither  encourage  nor  for- 
bid the  search  for  objective  proof  that  what  the  church 
preaches  on  faith  may  have  a basis  in  objective  fact. 

It  is  clear  that  one  step  begets  another.  If  we  accept  the 
reality  of  the  soul,  we  must  also  ask  ourselves,  where  does 
the  soul  go  after  death?  Thus  interest  concerning  the  nature 
of  man  quite  easily  extends  to  a curiosity  about  the  world 
that  the  soul  inhabits  once  it  leaves  its  former  abode. 

Again,  religion  has  given  us  descriptions  galore  of  the 
afterlife,  many  embroidered  in  human  fashion  with  ele- 
ments of  man-made  justice  but  possessing  very  little 
factuality. 

Inquiring  persons  will  have  to  wait  until  they  them- 
selves get  to  the  nonphysical  world,  or  they  will  have  to 
use  one  of  several  channels  to  find  out  what  the  nonphysi- 
cal world  is  like. 

When  experience  is  firsthand,  one  has  only  one’s  own 
status  or  state  of  being  to  consider;  waiting  for  or  taking 
the  ultimate  step  in  order  to  find  out  about  the  next  world 
is  certainly  a direct  approach. 

Desire  to  communicate  with  the  dead  is  as  old  as 
humanity  itself.  As  soon  as  primitive  man  realized  that 
death  could  separate  him  from  a loved  one  and  that  he 
could  not  prevent  that  person’s  departure,  he  thought  of 
the  next  best  thing:  once  gone,  how  could  he  communicate 
with  the  dead  person?  Could  he  bring  him  back?  Would  he 
join  him  eventually? 

These  are  the  original  elements,  along  with  certain 
observed  forces  in  nature,  that  have  contributed  to  the 
structure  of  early  religions. 

But  primitive  man  had  little  or  no  understanding  of 
nature  around  him  and  therefore  personified  all  forces  he 
could  not  understand  or  emulate.  Death  became  a person 
of  great  and  sinister  power  who  ruled  in  a kingdom  of 
darkness  somewhere  far  away.  To  communicate  with  a 
departed  loved  one,  one  would  have  to  have  Death’s  per- 
mission or  would  have  to  outsmart  him.  Getting  Death’s 
permission  to  see  a loved  one  was  rare  (e.g.,  the  story  of 
Orpheus  and  Eurydice). 

Outsmarting  Death  was  even  more  difficult.  Every- 
man never  succeeded,  nor  did  the  wealthy  Persian  mer- 
chant who  ran  away  to  Samara  only  to  find  Death  there 
waiting  for  him.  In  these  examples  Death  was  waiting  for 
the  man  himself,  and  it  was  not  a question  of  getting  past 
him  into  his  kingdom  to  see  the  departed  one.  But  it  shows 
how  all -knowing  the  personified  Death  of  primitive  and 
ancient  man  was. 

The  West  African  form  of  contact  with  the  dead, 
which  the  people  of  Haiti  still  practice  to  this  day,  is 
speaking  through  the  water;  again  it  is  a question  of  either 
avoiding  the  voodoo  gods  or  bribing  them.  Communication 
with  the  dead  is  never  easy  in  primitive  society. 

In  the  East,  where  ancestor  worship  is  part  of  the 
religious  morality,  communication  is  possible  through  the 

The  Nature  of  Life  and  Death 


15 


established  channel  of  the  priest,  but  the  occasion  has  to 
warrant  it.  Here  too  we  have  unquestioned  adherence  to 
the  orders  given  to  the  living  by  their  forebears,  as  a matter 
of  respect.  As  we  dig  deeper  into  the  religious  concepts  of 
eastern  origin,  we  find  such  a constant  interplay  between 
the  living  and  the  dead  that  one  understands  why  some 
Asians  are  not  afraid  to  die  or  do  not  take  the  kind  of  pre- 
cautions western  people  would  take  under  similar  circum- 
stances. Death  to  them  is  not  a stranger  or  a punishment  or 
a fearful  avenger  of  sins  committed  in  the  flesh. 

In  modern  times,  only  spiritualism  has  approached 
the  subject  of  the  dead  with  a degree  of  rationalism, 
although  it  tends  to  build  its  edifice  of  believability  occa- 
sionally on  very  shaky  ground.  The  proof  of  survival  of  the 
human  personality  is  certainly  not  wanting,  yet  spiritualism 
ignores  the  elements  in  man  that  are  mortal  but  nonphysi- 
cal, and  gives  credit  to  the  dead  for  everything  that  tran- 
scends the  five  senses.  But  research  on  ESP  has  shown  that 
some  of  these  experiences  need  not  be  due  to  the  spirit 
intervention,  although  they  may  not  be  explicable  in  terms 
of  orthodox  science.  We  do  have  ESP  in  our  incarnate  state 
and  rarely  use  the  wondrous  faculties  of  our  minds  to  the 
fullest. 

Nevertheless,  the  majority  of  spiritualist  beliefs  are 
capable  of  verification.  I have  worked  with  some  of  the  best 
spiritualist  mediums  to  learn  about  trafficking  with  the 
“other  world.”  For  the  heart  of  spiritualist  belief  is  commu- 
nication with  the  dead.  If  it  exists,  then  obviously  spiritual- 
ism has  a very  good  claim  to  be  a first-class  religion,  if  not 
more.  If  the  claim  is  fraudulent,  then  spiritualism  would  be 
as  cruel  a fraud  as  ever  existed,  deceiving  man’s  deepest 
emotions. 

Assuming  that  the  dead  exist  and  live  on  in  a world 
beyond  our  physical  world,  it  would  be  of  the  greatest 
interest  to  learn  the  nature  of  the  secondary  world  and  the 
laws  that  govern  it.  It  would  be  important  to  understand 
“the  art  of  dying,”  as  the  medieval  esoterics  called  it,  and 
come  to  a better  understanding  also  the  nature  of  this  tran- 
sition called  death. 

Having  accepted  the  existence  of  a nonphysical  world 
populated  by  the  dead,  we  next  should  examine  the  contin- 
uing contacts  between  the  two  worlds  and  the  two-way 
nature  of  these  communications:  those  initiated  by  the  liv- 
ing, and  those  undertaken  by  the  dead. 

Observation  of  so-called  spontaneous  phenomena  will 
be  just  as  important  as  induced  experiments  or  attempts  at 
contact.  In  all  this  we  must  keep  a weather  eye  open  for 
deceit,  misinterpretation,  or  self-delusion.  So  long  as  there 
is  a human  faculty  involved  in  this  inquiry,  we  must  allow 
for  our  weaknesses  and  limitations.  By  accepting  safe- 
guards, we  do  not  close  our  minds  to  the  astonishing  facts 
that  may  be  revealed  just  because  those  facts  seem  contrary 
to  current  thinking.  If  we  proceed  with  caution,  we  may 


CHAPTER  ONE:  The  Nature  of  Life  and  Death 


contribute  something  that  will  give  beleaguered  humankind 
new  hope,  new  values,  and  new  directions. 

RETURN  FROM  THE  DEAD 

Nothing  could  be  more  convincing  than  the  testimony  of 
those  people  who  have  actually  been  to  that  other  world 
and  returned  "to  tell  the  tale.”  This  material  substantiates 
much  of  the  phenomena  that  has  made  itself  known  to 
many  in  personal  encounters,  and  also  with  the  help  of 
competent  psychics  and  mediums. 

While  evidence  of  communication  with  the  dead  will 
provide  the  bulk  of  the  evidential  material  that  supports 
the  conditions  and  decrees  existing  in  that  other  world,  we 
have  also  a number  of  testimonies  from  people  who  have 
entered  the  next  world  but  not  stayed  in  it.  The  cases 
involve  people  who  were  temporarily  separated  from  their 
physical  reality — without,  however,  being  cut  off  from  it 
permanently — and  catapulted  into  the  state  we  call  death. 
These  are  mainly  accident  victims  who  recovered  and  those 
who  underwent  surgery  and  during  the  state  of  anesthesia 
became  separated  from  their  physical  bodies  and  were  able 
to  observe  from  a new  vantage  point  what  was  happening 
to  them.  Also,  some  people  have  traveled  to  the  next  world 
in  a kind  of  dream  state  and  observed  conditions  there  that 
they  remembered  upon  returning  to  the  full  state  of  wake- 
fulness. 

I hesitate  to  call  these  cases  dreams  since,  as  I have 
already  pointed  out  in  another  work  on  the  psychic  side  of 
dreams,  the  dream  state  covers  a multitude  of  conditions, 
some  of  which  at  least  are  not  actual  dreams  but  states  of 
limited  consciousness  and  receptivity  to  external  inputs. 
Out-of-body  experiences,  formerly  known  as  astral  projec- 
tions, are  also  frequently  classed  with  dreams,  while  in  fact 
they  are  a form  of  projection  in  which  the  individual  is 
traveling  outside  the  physical  body. 

The  case  I am  about  to  present  are,  to  the  best  of  my 
knowledge,  true  experiences  by  average,  ordinary  individu- 
als. I have  always  shied  away  from  accepting  material  from 
anyone  undergoing  psychiatric  treatment,  not  because  I 
necessarily  discount  such  testimony,  but  because  some  of 
my  readers  might. 

As  Dr.  Raymond  Moody  noted  in  his  work,  there  is 
a definite  pattern  to  these  near  misses,  so  to  speak,  the 
experiences  of  people  who  have  gone  over  and  then 
returned.  What  they  relate  about  conditions  on  the  "other 
side  of  life”  is  frequently  similar  to  what  other  people  have 
said  about  these  conditions,  yet  the  witnesses  have  no  way 
of  knowing  each  other’s  experiences,  have  never  met,  and 
have  not  read  a common  source  from  which  they  could 
draw  such  material  if  they  were  inclined  to  deceive  the 
investigator,  which  they  certainly  are  not.  In  fact,  many  of 
these  testimonies  are  reluctantly  given,  out  of  fear  of 
ridicule  or  perhaps  because  the  individuals  themselves  are 
not  sure  of  what  to  make  of  it.  Far  from  the  fanatical  fer- 
vor of  a religious  purveyor,  those  whose  cases  have  been 


16 


brought  to  my  attention  do  not  wish  to  convince  anyone  of 
anything  but  merely  want  to  report  what  has  occurred  in 
their  lives.  In  publishing  these  reports,  I am  making  the 
information  available  to  those  who  might  have  had  similar 
experiences  and  have  wondered  about  them. 

I cannot  emphasize  strongly  enough  that  the  cases  I 
am  reporting  in  the  following  pages  do  not  fall  into  the  cat- 
egory of  what  many  doctors  like  to  call  hallucinations, 
mental  aberrations,  or  fantasies.  The  clarity  of  the  experi- 
ences, the  full  remembrance  of  them  afterward,  the  many 
parallels  between  individual  experiences  reported  by  people 
in  widely  scattered  areas,  and  finally  the  physical  condition 
of  the  percipients  at  the  time  of  the  experience  all  weigh 
heavily  against  the  dismissal  of  such  experiences  as  being 
of  hallucinatory  origin. 

Mrs.  Virginia  S.,  a resident  in  one  of  the  western 
states,  had  in  the  past  held  various  responsible  jobs  in 
management  and  business.  On  March  13,  1960,  she  under- 
went surgery  for,  as  she  put  it,  repair  to  her  muscles.  Dur- 
ing the  operation,  she  lost  so  much  blood  she  was  declared 
clinically  dead.  Nevertheless,  the  surgeons  worked  fever- 
ishly to  bring  her  back,  and  she  recovered.  This  is  what 
Mrs.  S.  experienced  during  the  period  when  the  medical 
team  was  unable  to  detect  any  sign  of  life  in  her: 

“I  was  climbing  a rock  wall  and  was  standing  straight 
in  the  air.  Nothing  else  was  around  it;  it  seemed  flat.  At 
the  top  of  this  wall  was  another  stone  railing  about  two  feet 
high.  I grabbed  for  the  edge  to  pull  myself  over  the  wall, 
and  my  father,  who  is  deceased,  appeared  and  looked  down 
at  me.  He  said,  ‘You  cannot  come  up  yet;  go  back,  you 
have  something  left  to  do.’  I looked  down  and  started  to  go 
down  and  the  next  thing  I heard  were  the  words  ‘She’s 
coming  back.'” 

Mrs.  j.  L.  H.,  a resident  in  her  middle  thirties  living 
in  British  Columbia,  had  an  amazing  experience  on  her 
way  back  from  the  funeral  of  her  stepfather,  George  H.  She 
was  driving  with  a friend,  Clarence  G.,  and  there  was  a 
serious  accident.  Clarence  was  killed  instantly,  and  Mrs.  H. 
was  seriously  hurt.  “I  don’t  remember  anything  except  see- 
ing car  lights  coming  at  me,  for  I had  been  sleeping,”  Mrs. 

H.  explained.  “I  first  remember  seeing  my  stepdad, 

George,  step  forward  out  of  a cloudy  mist  and  touch  me  on 
my  left  shoulder.  He  said,  ‘Go  back,  June,  it’s  not  time 
yet.’  I woke  up  with  the  weight  of  his  hand  still  on  my 
shoulder.” 

The  curious  thing  about  this  case  is  that  two  people 
were  in  the  same  accident,  yet  one  of  them  was  evidently 
marked  for  death  while  the  other  was  not.  After  Mrs.  H. 
had  recovered  from  her  injuries  and  returned  home,  she 
woke  up  one  night  to  see  a figure  at  the  end  of  her  bed 
holding  out  his  hand  toward  her  as  if  wanting  her  to  come 
with  him.  When  she  turned  her  light  on,  the  figure  disap- 
peared but  it  always  returned  when  she  turned  the  light 
off  again.  During  subsequent  appearances,  the  entity  tried 
to  lift  Mrs.  H.  out  of  her  bed,  pulling  all  the  covers  off 
her,  thereafter  forcing  her  to  sleep  with  the  lights  on.  It 


would  appear  that  Clarence  could  not  understand  why  he 
was  on  the  other  side  of  life  without  his  friend. 

Mrs.  Phyllis  G.,  also  from  Canada,  had  a most 
remarkable  experience  in  March  1949.  She  had  just  given 
birth  to  twin  boys  at  her  home,  and  the  confinement 
seemed  normal  and  natural.  By  late  evening,  however,  she 
began  to  suffer  from  a very  severe  headache.  By  morning 
she  was  unconscious  and  was  rushed  to  the  hospital  with  a 
cerebral  hemorrhage.  She  was  unconscious  for  three  days 
during  which  the  doctors  did  their  best  to  save  her  life.  It 
was  during  this  time  that  she  had  a most  remarkable  expe- 
rience. 

‘‘My  husband’s  grandmother  had  died  the  previous 
August,  but  she  came  to  me  during  my  unconscious  state, 
dressed  in  the  whitest  white  robe,  and  there  was  light  shin- 
ing around  her.  She  seemed  to  me  to  be  in  a lovely,  quiet 
meadow.  Her  arms  were  held  out  to  me  and  she  called  my 
name.  ‘Phyllis,  come  with  me.’  I told  her  this  was  not  pos- 
sible as  I had  my  children  to  take  care  of.  Again  she  said, 
‘Phyllis,  come  with  me,  you  will  love  it  here.’  Once  again, 

I told  her  it  wasn’t  possible,  I said,  ‘Gran,  I can't.  I must 
look  after  my  children.’  With  this  she  said,  ‘I  must  take 
someone.  I will  take  Jeffrey.'  I didn’t  object  to  this,  and 
Gran  just  faded  away.”  Mrs.  G.  recovered,  and  her  son 
Jeffrey,  the  first  of  the  two  twins,  wasn’t  taken  either  and 
at  twenty-eight  years  old  was  doing  fine.  His  mother,  how- 
ever, was  plagued  by  a nagging  feeling  in  the  back  of  her 
mind  that  perhaps  his  life  may  not  be  as  long  as  it  ought  to 
be.  During  the  moments  when  her  grandmother  appeared, 
Mrs.  G.  had  been  considered  clinically  dead. 

There  are  many  cases  on  record  in  which  a person 
begins  to  become  part  of  another  dimension  even  when 
there  is  still  hope  for  recovery,  but  at  a time  when  the  ties 
between  consciousness  and  body  are  already  beginning  to 
loosen.  An  interesting  case  was  reported  to  me  by  Mrs.  J. 

P.  of  California.  While  still  a teenager,  Mrs.  P.  had  been 
very  ill  with  influenza  but  was  just  beginning  to  recover 
when  she  had  a most  unusual  experience. 

One  morning  her  father  and  mother  came  into  her 
bedroom  to  see  how  she  was  feeling.  “After  a few  minutes 
I asked  them  if  they  could  hear  the  beautiful  music.  I still 
remember  that  my  father  looked  at  my  mother  and  said, 
‘She’s  delirious.’  I vehemently  denied  that.  Soon  they  left. 
As  I glanced  out  my  second-floor  bedroom  window 
towards  the  wooded  hills  I love,  I saw  a sight  that  literally 
took  my  breath  away.  There,  superimposed  on  the  trees, 
was  a beautiful  cathedral -type  structure  from  which  that 
beautiful  music  was  emanating.  Then  I seemed  to  be  look- 
ing down  on  the  people.  Everyone  was  singing,  but  it  was 
the  background  music  that  thrilled  my  soul.  Someone 
dressed  in  white  was  leading  the  singing.  The  interior  of 
the  church  seemed  strange  to  me.  It  was  only  in  later  years, 
after  I had  attended  services  at  an  Episcopal  church  and 
also  at  a Catholic  church,  that  I realized  the  front  of  the 

The  Nature  of  Life  and  Death 


17 


church  I had  seen  was  more  in  the  Catholic  style,  with  the 
beautiful  altar.  The  vision  faded.  Two  years  later,  when  I 
was  ill  again,  the  scene  and  music  returned.” 

On  January  5,  1964,  Mr.  R.  J.  I.  of  Pittsburgh, 
Pennsylvania,  was  rushed  to  the  hospital  with  a bleeding 
ulcer.  On  admittance  he  received  a shot  and  became 
unconscious.  Attempts  were  immediately  made  to  stop  the 
bleeding,  and  finally  he  was  operated  on.  During  the  oper- 
ation, Mr.  I.  lost  fifteen  pints  of  blood,  suffered  convulsions, 
and  had  a temperature  of  106  degrees.  He  was  as  close  to 
death  as  one  could  come  and  was  given  the  last  rites  of  his 
church.  However,  during  the  period  of  his  unconsciousness 
he  had  a remarkable  experience.  "On  the  day  my  doctor 
told  my  wife  I had  only  an  hour  to  live,  I saw,  while 
unconscious,  a man  with  black  hair  and  a white  robe  with  a 
gold  belt  come  from  behind  the  altar,  look  at  me,  and 
shake  his  head.  I was  taken  to  a long  hall,  and  purple  robes 
were  laid  out  for  me.  There  were  many  candles  lit  in  this 
hall.” 

Many  cases  of  this  kind  occur  when  the  subject  is 
being  prepared  for  surgery  or  undergoing  surgery;  some- 
times the  anesthetic  allows  disassociation  to  occur  more 
easily.  This  is  not  to  say  that  people  necessarily  hallucinate 
under  the  influence  of  anesthetic  drugs  or  due  to  the  lack 
of  blood  or  from  any  other  physical  cause.  If  death  is  the 
dissolution  of  the  link  between  physical  body  and  etheric 
body,  it  stands  to  reason  that  any  loosening  of  this  link  is 
likely  to  allow  the  etheric  body  to  move  away  from  its 
physical  shell,  although  still  tied  to  it  either  by  an  invisible 
silver  cord  or  by  some  form  of  invisible  tie  that  we  do  not 
as  yet  fully  understand.  Otherwise  those  who  have  returned 
from  the  great  beyond  would  not  have  done  so. 

Mrs.  J.  M.,  a resident  of  Canada,  was  expecting  her 
fourth  child  in  October  1956. 

"Something  went  wrong,  and  when  I had  a contrac- 
tion I went  unconscious.  My  doctor  was  called,  and  I 
remember  him  telling  me  he  couldn’t  give  any  anesthetic  as 
he  might  have  to  operate.  Then  I passed  out,  but  I could 
still  hear  him  talking  and  myself  talking  back  to  him.  Then 
I couldn’t  hear  him  any  longer,  and  I found  myself  on  the 
banks  of  a river  with  green  grass  and  white  buildings  on 
the  other  side.  I knew  if  I could  get  across  I’d  never  be 
tired  again,  but  there  was  no  bridge  and  the  water  was  very 
rough.  I looked  back  and  I saw  myself  lying  there,  back  in 
the  hospital,  with  nurses  and  doctors  around  me,  and  Dr. 
M.  had  his  hand  on  the  back  of  my  neck  and  he  was  call- 
ing me,  and  he  looked  so  worried  that  I knew  I had  to  go 
back.  I had  the  baby,  and  then  I was  back  in  the  room  and 
the  doctor  explained  to  my  husband  what  happened.  I 
asked  him  why  he  had  his  hand  on  my  neck,  and  he 
replied  that  it  was  the  only  place  on  my  body  where  he 
could  find  a pulse  and  for  over  a minute  he  couldn’t  even 
feel  one  there.  Was  this  the  time  when  I was  standing  on 
the  riverbank?” 

CHAPTER  ONE:  The  Nature  of  Life  and  Death 


Deborah  B.  is  a young  lady  living  in  California  with 
a long  record  of  psychic  experiences.  At  times,  when  she’s 
intensely  involved  in  an  emotional  situation,  she  undergoes 
what  we  parapsychologists  call  a disassociation  of  personal- 
ity. For  a moment,  she  is  able  to  look  into  another  dimen- 
sion, partake  of  visionary  experiences  not  seen  or  felt  by 
others  in  her  vicinity.  One  such  incident  occurred  to  Debo- 
rah during  a theater  arts  class  at  school.  She  looked  up 
from  her  script  and  saw  “a  man  standing  there  in  a flowing 
white  robe,  staring  at  me,  with  golden  or  blond  hair  down 
to  his  shoulders;  a misty  fog  surrounded  him.  I couldn’t 
make  out  his  face,  but  I knew  he  was  staring  at  me.  During 
this  time  I had  a very  peaceful  and  secure  feeling.  He  then 
faded  away.” 

Later  that  year,  after  an  emotional  dispute  between 
Deborah  and  her  mother,  another  visionary  experience  took 
place.  "I  saw  a woman  dressed  in  a long,  blue  flowing  robe, 
with  a white  shawl  or  veil  over  her  head,  beckoning  to  a 
group  of  three  or  four  women  dressed  in  rose-colored  robes 
and  white  veils.  The  lady  in  blue  was  on  the  steps  of  a 
church  or  temple  with  very  large  pillars.  Then  it  faded 
out.” 

One  might  argue  that  Deborah’s  imagination  was  cre- 
ating visionary  scenes  within  her,  if  it  weren’t  for  the  fact 
that  what  she  describes  has  been  described  by  others,  espe- 
cially people  who  have  found  themselves  on  the  threshold 
of  death  and  have  returned.  The  beckoning  figure  in  the 
flowing  robe  has  been  reported  by  many,  sometimes  identi- 
fied as  Jesus,  sometimes  simply  as  master.  The  identifica- 
tion of  the  figure  depends,  of  course,  on  the  religious  or 
metaphysical  attitude  of  the  subject,  but  the  feeling  caused 
by  his  appearance  seems  to  be  universally  the  same:  a sense 
of  peace  and  complete  contentment. 

Mrs.  C.  B.  of  Connecticut  has  had  a heart  problem 
for  over  25  years.  The  condition  is  under  control  so  long  as 
she  takes  the  tablets  prescribed  for  her  by  her  physician. 
Whenever  her  blood  pressure  passes  the  two  hundred 
mark,  she  reaches  for  them.  When  her  pulse  rate  does  not 
respond  to  the  medication,  she  asks  to  be  taken  to  the  hos- 
pital for  further  treatment.  There  drugs  are  injected  into 
her  intravenously,  a procedure  that  is  unpleasant  and  that 
she  tries  to  avoid  at  all  costs.  But  she  has  lived  with  this 
condition  for  a long  time  and  knows  what  she  must  do  to 
survive.  On  one  occasion  she  had  been  reading  in  bed  and 
was  still  awake  around  five  o’clock  in  the  morning.  Her 
heart  had  been  acting  up  again  for  an  hour  or  so.  She  even 
applied  pressure  to  various  pressure  points  she  knew  about, 
in  the  hope  that  her  home  remedies  would  slow  down  her 
pulse  rate,  but  to  no  avail.  Since  she  did  not  wish  to 
awaken  her  husband,  she  was  waiting  to  see  whether  the 
condition  would  abate  itself.  At  that  moment  Mrs.  B.  had 
a most  remarkable  experience. 

"Into  my  window  flew,  or  glided,  a woman.  She  was 
large,  beautiful,  and  clothed  in  a multicolored  garment  with 
either  arms  or  wings  close  to  her  sides.  She  stopped  and 
hovered  at  the  foot  of  my  bed  to  the  right  and  simply 


18 


stayed  there.  I was  so  shocked,  and  yet  I knew  that  I was 
seeing  her  as  a physical  being.  She  turned  neither  to  the 
right  nor  to  the  left  but  remained  absolutely  stone-faced 
and  said  not  a word.  Then  I seemed  to  become  aware  of 
four  cherubs  playing  around  and  in  front  of  her.  Yet  I 
sensed  somehow  that  these  were  seen  with  my  mind’s  eye 
rather  than  with  the  material  eyes.  I don’t  know  how  to 
explain  from  any  reasonable  standpoint  what  I said  or  did; 

I only  knew  what  happened.  I thought,  ‘This  is  the  angel 
of  death.  My  time  has  come.’  I said  audibly,  ‘If  you  are 
from  God,  I will  go  with  you.’  As  I reached  out  my  hand 
to  her,  she  simply  vanished  in  midair.  Needless  to  say,  the 
cherubs  vanished  too.  I was  stunned,  but  my  heart  beat 
had  returned  to  normal.” 

Mrs.  L.  L.  of  Michigan  dreamed  in  July  1968  that 
she  and  her  husband  had  been  killed  in  an  automobile  acci- 
dent. In  November  of  that  year,  the  feeling  that  death  was 
all  around  her  became  stronger.  Around  the  middle  of  the 
month,  the  feeling  was  so  overwhelming  she  telephoned  her 
husband,  who  was  then  on  a hunting  trip,  and  informed 
him  of  her  death  fears.  She  discussed  her  apprehensions 
with  a neighbor,  but  nothing  helped  allay  her  uneasiness. 
On  December  17,  Mrs.  L.  had  still  another  dream,  again 
about  imminent  death.  In  this  dream  she  knew  that  her 
husband  would  die  and  that  she  could  not  save  him,  no 
matter  what  she  did.  Two  days  later,  Mrs.  L.  and  her  hus- 
band were  indeed  in  an  automobile  accident.  He  was  killed, 
and  Mrs.  L.  nearly  died.  According  to  the  attending  physi- 
cian, Dr.  S.,  she  should  have  been  a dead  woman,  consid- 
ering her  injuries.  But  during  the  stay  in  the  hospital,  when 
she  had  been  given  up  and  was  visited  by  her  sister,  she 
spoke  freely  about  a place  she  was  seeing  and  the  dead  rel- 
atives she  was  in  contact  with  at  the  time.  Although  she 
was  unconscious,  she  knew  that  her  husband  was  dead,  but 
she  also  knew  that  her  time  had  not  come,  that  she  had  a 
purpose  to  achieve  in  life  and  therefore  could  not  stay  on 
the  "plane”  on  which  she  temporarily  was.  The  sister,  who 
did  not  understand  any  of  this,  asked  whether  Mrs.  L.  had 
seen  God  and  whether  she  had  visited  heaven.  The  uncon- 
scious subject  replied  that  she  had  not  seen  God  nor  was 
she  in  heaven,  but  on  a certain  plane  of  existence.  The  sis- 
ter thought  that  all  this  was  nonsense  and  that  her  dying 
sister  was  delirious,  and  left. 

Mrs.  L.  herself  remembers  quite  clearly  how  life 
returned  to  her  after  her  visit  to  the  other  plane.  “I  felt  life 
coming  to  my  body,  from  the  tip  of  my  toes  to  the  tip  of 
my  head.  I knew  I couldn’t  die.  Something  came  back  into 
my  body;  I think  it  was  my  soul.  I was  at  complete  peace 
about  everything  and  could  not  grieve  about  the  death  of 
my  husband.  I had  complete  forgiveness  for  the  man  who 
hit  us;  I felt  no  bitterness  toward  him  at  all.” 

Do  some  people  get  an  advance  glimpse  of  their  own 
demise?  It  would  be  easy  to  dismiss  some  of  the  precogni- 
tive  or  seemingly  precognitive  dreams  as  anxiety -caused, 
perhaps  due  to  the  dreamer’s  fantasies.  However,  many  of 
these  dreams  parallel  each  other  and  differ  from  ordinary 


anxiety  dreams  in  their  intensity  and  the  fact  that  they  are 
remembered  so  very  clearly  upon  awakening. 

A good  case  in  point  is  a vivid  dream  reported  to  me 
by  Mrs.  Peggy  C.,  who  lives  in  a New  York  suburb.  The 
reason  for  her  contacting  me  was  the  fact  that  she  had 
developed  a heart  condition  and  was  wondering  whether  a 
dream  she  had  had  twenty  years  before  was  an  indication 
that  her  life  was  nearing  its  end.  In  the  dream  that  had  so 
unnerved  her  through  the  years,  she  was  walking  past  a 
theater  where  she  met  a dead  brother-in-law.  "I  said  to 
him,  ‘Hi,  Charlie,  what  are  you  doing  here?’  He  just 
smiled,  and  then  in  my  dream  it  dawned  on  me  that  the 
dead  come  for  the  living.  I said  to  him  ‘Did  you  come  for 
me?’  He  said,  ‘Yes.’  I said  to  him,  'Did  I die?’  He  said, 

‘Yes.’  I said,  ‘I  wasn’t  sick.  Was  it  my  heart?’  He  nodded, 
and  I said,  ‘I’m  scared.’  He  said,  ‘There  is  nothing  to  be 
scared  of,  just  hold  onto  me.’  I put  my  arms  around  him, 
and  we  sailed  through  the  air  of  darkness.  It  was  not  a 
frightening  feeling  but  a pleasant  sensation.  I could  see  the 
buildings  beneath  us.  Then  we  came  to  a room  where  a 
woman  was  sitting  at  a desk.  In  the  room  were  my  brother- 
in-law,  an  old  lady,  and  a mailman.  She  called  me  to  her 
desk.  I said,  ‘Do  we  have  to  work  here  too?’  She  said,  ‘We 
are  all  assigned  to  duties.  What  is  your  name?’  I was  chris- 
tened Bernadine,  but  my  mother  never  used  the  name.  I 
was  called  Peggy.  I told  her  ‘Peggy.’  She  said,  ‘No,  your 
name  is  Bernadine.’  Then,  my  brother-in-law  took  me  by 
the  arms  and  we  were  going  upstairs  when  I awakened.  I 
saw  my  husband  standing  over  me  with  his  eyes  wide 
open,  but  I could  not  move.  I was  thinking  to  myself, 
‘Please  shake  me,  I’m  alive,’  but  I could  not  move  or  talk. 
After  a few  minutes,  my  body  jerked  in  bed,  and  I opened 
my  eyes  and  began  to  cry.”  The  question  is,  did  Mrs.  C. 
have  a near-death  experience  and  return  from  it,  or  was  her 
dream  truly  precognitive,  indicative  perhaps  of  things  yet 
to  come? 

Doctor  Karlis  Osis  published  his  findings  concerning 
many  deathbed  experiences,  wherein  the  dying  recognize 
dead  relatives  in  the  room  who  have  seemingly  come  to 
help  them  across  the  threshold  into  the  next  world.  A lady 
in  South  Carolina,  Mrs.  M.  C.,  reported  one  particularly 
interesting  case  to  me.  She  herself  has  a fair  degree  of 
mediumship,  which  is  a factor  in  the  present  case.  “I  stood 
behind  my  mother  as  she  lay  dying  at  the  age  of  some  sev- 
enty years.  She  had  suffered  a cerebral  stroke,  and  was 
unable  to  speak.  Her  attendants  claimed  they  had  had  no 
communication  with  her  for  over  a week.  As  I let  my  mind 
go  into  her,  she  spoke  clearly  and  flawlessly,  ‘If  only  you 
could  see  how  beautiful  and  perfect  it  all  is,’  she  said,  then 
called  out  to  her  dead  father,  saying  ‘Papa,  Papa.’  I then 
spoke  directly  to  her  and  asked  her,  did  she  see  Papa?  She 
answered  as  if  she  had  come  home,  so  to  speak.  ‘Yes,  I see 
Papa.’  She  passed  over  onto  the  other  side  shortly,  in  a 
matter  of  days.  It  was  as  if  her  father  had  indeed  come 

The  Nature  of  Life  and  Death 


19 


after  her,  as  if  we  saw  him,  and  she  spoke  to  me  clearly, 
with  paralyzed  mouth  and  throat  muscles.” 

Sometimes  the  dead  want  the  living  to  know  how 
wonderful  their  newfound  world  is.  Whether  this  is  out  of 
a need  to  make  up  for  ignorance  in  one’s  earth  life,  where 
such  knowledge  is  either  outside  one’s  ken  or  ignored,  or 
whether  this  is  in  order  to  acquaint  the  surviving  relative 
with  what  lies  ahead,  cases  involving  such  excursions  into 
the  next  world  tend  to  confirm  the  near-death  experiences 
of  those  who  have  gone  into  it  on  their  own,  propelled  by 
accidents  or  unusual  states  of  consciousness.  One  of  the 
most  remarkable  reports  of  this  kind  came  to  me  through 
the  kindness  of  two  sisters  living  in  England.  Mrs.  Doreen 
B.,  a senior  nursing  administrator,  had  witnessed  death  on 
numerous  occasions.  Here  is  her  report. 

“In  May  1968  my  dear  mother  died.  I had  nursed 
her  at  home,  during  which  time  we  had  become  extremely 
close.  My  mother  was  a quiet,  shy  woman  who  always 
wished  to  remain  in  the  background.  Her  last  weeks  were 
ones  of  agony;  she  had  terminal  cancer  with  growths  in 
many  parts  of  her  body.  Towards  the  end  of  her  life  I had 
to  heavily  sedate  her  to  alleviate  the  pain,  and  after  saying 
good-bye  to  my  daughter  on  the  morning  of  the  seventh  of 
May,  she  lapsed  into  semiconsciousness  and  finally  died  in 
a coma,  approximately  2:15  A.M.  on  the  eighth  of  May 
1968.  A few  nights  after  her  death  I was  gently  awakened. 

I opened  my  eyes  and  saw  Mother. 

“Before  I relate  what  happened,  I should  like  to  say 
that  I dream  vividly  every  night,  and  this  fact  made  me 
more  aware  that  I was  not  dreaming.  I had  not  taken  any 
drinks  or  drugs,  although  of  course  my  mind  and  emotions 
revolved  around  my  mother.  After  Mother  woke  me,  I 
arose  from  my  bed;  my  hand  instinctively  reached  out  for 
my  dressing  gown,  but  I do  not  remember  putting  it  on. 
Mother  said  that  she  would  take  me  to  where  she  was.  I 
reacted  by  saying  that  I would  get  the  car  out,  but  she  said 
that  I would  not  need  it.  We  traveled  quickly,  I do  not 
know  how,  but  I was  aware  that  we  were  in  the  Durking 
Leatherhead  area  and  entering  another  dimension. 

“The  first  thing  I saw  was  a large  archway.  I knew  I 
had  seen  it  before,  although  it  means  nothing  to  me  now. 
Inside  the  entrance  a beautiful  sight  met  my  eyes.  There 
was  glorious  parkland,  with  shrubbery  and  flowers  of  many 
colors.  We  traveled  across  the  parkland  and  came  to  a low- 
built  white  building.  It  seemed  to  have  the  appearance  of  a 
convalescent  home.  There  was  a veranda,  but  no  windows 
or  doors  as  we  know  them.  Inside  everything  was  white, 
and  Mother  showed  me  a bed  that  she  said  was  hers.  I was 
aware  of  other  people,  but  they  were  only  shadowy  white 
figures.  Mother  was  very  worried  about  some  of  them  and 
told  me  that  they  did  not  know  that  they  were  dead.  How- 
ever, I was  aware  that  one  of  a group  of  three  was  a man. 

“Mother  had  always  been  very  frugal  in  dress,  possi- 
bly due  to  her  hardships  in  earlier  years.  Therefore  her 

CHAPTER  ONE:  The  Nature  of  Life  and  Death 


wardrobe  was  small  but  neat,  and  she  spent  very  little  on 
clothing  if  she  could  alter  and  mend.  Because  of  this  I was 
surprised  when  she  said  she  wished  that  she  had  more 
clothes.  In  life  Mother  was  the  kindest  of  women,  never 
saying  or  thinking  ill  of  anyone.  Therefore  I found  it  hard 
to  understand  her  resentment  of  a woman  in  a long,  flow- 
ing robe  who  appeared  on  a bridge  in  the  grounds.  The 
bridge  looked  beautiful,  but  Mother  never  took  me  near  it. 

I now  had  to  return,  but  to  my  question,  'Are  you  happy?’ 

I was  extremely  distressed  to  know  that  she  did  not  want 
to  leave  her  family.  Before  Mother  left  me  she  said  a gentle 
‘Good-bye  dear.’  It  was  said  with  a quiet  finality,  and  I 
knew  that  I would  never  see  her  again. 

"It  was  only  afterward  when  I related  it  to  my  sister 
that  I realized  that  Mother  had  been  much  more  youthful 
than  when  she  died  and  that  her  back,  which  in  life  had 
been  rounded,  was  straight.  Also  I realized  that  we  had  not 
spoken  through  our  lips  but  as  if  by  thought,  except  when 
she  said,  ‘Good-bye,  dear.’  It  is  now  three-and-a-half  years 
since  this  happening,  and  I have  had  no  further  experience. 
I now  realize  that  I must  have  seen  Mother  during  her 
transition  period,  when  she  was  still  earthbound,  possibly 
from  the  effects  of  the  drugs  I administered  under  medical 
supervision,  and  when  her  tie  to  her  family,  particularly 
her  grandchild,  was  still  very  strong.” 

Don  Mcl.,  a professional  astrologer  living  in  Rich- 
land, Washington,  has  no  particular  interest  in  psychic 
phenomena,  is  in  his  early  seventies,  and  worked  most  of 
his  life  as  a security  patrolman.  His  last  employment  was  at 
an  atomic  plant  in  Washington  state.  After  retirement,  he 
took  up  astrology  full-time.  Nevertheless,  he  had  a remark- 
able experience  that  convinced  him  of  the  reality  of  afterlife 
existence. 

“On  November  15,  1971,  at  about  6:30  A.M.,  I was 
beginning  to  awaken  when  I clearly  saw  the  face  of  my 
cousin  beside  and  near  the  foot  of  my  bed.  He  said,  ‘Don, 

I have  died.’  Then  his  face  disappeared,  but  the  voice  was 
definitely  his  own  distinctive  voice.  As  far  as  I knew  at  that 
time,  he  was  alive  and  well.  The  thought  of  telling  my  wife 
made  me  feel  uncomfortable,  so  I did  not  tell  her  of  the 
incident.  At  1 1:00  A.M. , about  four- and- a-half  hours  after 
my  psychic  experience,  the  mail  arrived.  In  it  was  a letter 
from  my  cousin’s  widow,  informing  us  that  he  had  a heart 
failure  and  was  pronounced  dead  upon  arrival  at  the  hospi- 
tal. She  stated  that  his  death  occurred  at  9:30  P.M., 
November  8,  1971,  at  Ventura,  California.  My  home, 
where  my  psychic  experience  took  place,  is  at  least  a thou- 
sand miles  from  Ventura,  California.  The  incident  is  the 
only  psychic  experience  I’ve  ever  had.” 

William  W.  lives  and  works  in  Washington,  D.C. 
Because  of  some  remarkable  psychic  incidents  in  his  life,  he 
began  to  wonder  about  the  survival  of  human  personality. 
One  evening  he  had  a dream  in  which  he  saw  himself 
walking  up  a flight  of  stairs  where  he  was  met  by  a woman 
whom  he  immediately  recognized  as  his  elderly  great-aunt. 
She  had  died  in  1936.  “However  she  was  dressed  in  a long 


20 


gray  dress  of  about  the  turn-of-the-century  style,  her  hair 
was  black,  and  she  looked  vibrantly  young.  I asked  her  in 
the  dream  where  the  others  were,  and  she  referred  me  to  a 
large  room  at  the  top  of  the  stairs.  The  surroundings  were 
not  familiar.  I entered  the  room  and  was  amazed  to  see 
about  fifteen  people  in  various  types  of  dress,  both  male 
and  female  and  all  looking  like  mature  adults,  some  about 
the  age  of  thirty.  I was  able  to  recognize  nearly  all  of  these 
people  although  most  I had  seen  when  they  were  quite  old. 
All  appeared  jovial  and  happy.  I awakened  from  the  dream 
with  the  feeling  that  somebody  had  been  trying  to  tell  me 
something.” 

There  are  repeated  reports  indicating  that  the  dead 
revert  to  their  best  years,  which  lie  around  the  age  of  thirty 
in  most  cases,  because  they  are  able  to  project  a thought- 
form  of  themselves  as  they  wish.  On  the  other  hand,  where 
apparitions  of  the  dead  are  intended  to  prove  survival  of  an 
individual,  they  usually  appear  as  they  looked  prior  to 
death,  frequently  wearing  the  clothes  they  wore  at  the  time 
of  their  passing. 

Not  all  temporary  separations  of  the  body  and  etheric 
self  include  a visit  to  the  next  world.  Sometimes  the  liber- 
ated self  merely  hangs  around  to  observe  what  is  being 
done  with  the  body.  Mrs.  Elaine  L.  of  Washington  state 
reported  an  experience  that  happened  to  her  at  the  age  of 
sixteen.  "I  had  suffered  several  days  from  an  infected  back 
tooth,  and  since  my  face  was  badly  swollen,  our  dentist 
refused  to  remove  the  tooth  until  the  swelling  subsided. 
When  it  did,  and  shortly  after  the  novocaine  was  adminis- 
trated, I found  myself  floating  close  to  an  open  window.  I 
saw  my  body  in  the  dental  chair  and  the  dentist  working 
feverishly.  Our  landlady,  Mrs.  E.,  who  had  brought  me  to 
the  dentist,  stood  close  by,  shaking  me  and  looking  quite 
flabbergasted  and  unbelieving.  My  feeling  at  the  time  was 
of  complete  peace  and  freedom.  There  was  no  pain,  no 
anxiety,  not  even  an  interest  in  what  was  happening  close 
to  that  chair. 

“Soon  I was  back  to  the  pain  and  remember  as  I left 
the  office  that  I felt  a little  resentful.  The  dentist  phoned 
frequently  during  the  next  few  days  for  assurance  that  I 
was  alright.” 


According  to  one  report,  a Trappist  monk  who  had 
suffered  a cardiac  arrest  for  a period  of  ten  minutes 
remembered  a visit  to  a world  far  different  from  that  which 
his  religion  had  taught  him.  Brother  G.  spoke  of  seeing 
fluffy  white  clouds  and  experiencing  a sense  of  great  joy. 

As  a result  of  his  amazing  experience,  the  monk  now  helps 
people  on  the  terminal  list  of  a local  hospital  face  death 
more  adequately.  He  can  tell  them  that  there  nothing  to 
fear. 

A New  Jersey  physician,  Dr.  Joseph  G.,  admitted 
publicly  that  he  had  "died”  after  a severe  attack  of  pneu- 
monia in  1934  and  could  actually  see  himself  lying  on  the 
deathbed.  At  the  time,  worrying  how  his  mother  would  feel 
if  he  died,  he  heard  a voice  tell  him  that  it  was  entirely  up 
to  him  whether  wanted  to  stay  on  the  physical  plane  or  go 
across.  Because  of  his  own  experience,  Dr.  G.  later  paid 
serious  attention  to  the  accounts  of  several  patients  who 
had  similar  experiences. 

The  number  of  cases  involving  near-death 
experiences — reports  from  people  who  were  clinically  dead 
for  varying  lengths  of  time  and  who  then  recovered  and 
remembered  what  they  experienced  while  unconscious — is 
considerable.  If  we  assume  that  universal  law  covers  all 
contingencies,  there  should  be  no  exceptions  to  it.  Why 
then  are  some  people  allowed  to  glimpse  what  lies  ahead 
for  them  in  the  next  dimension  without  actually  entering 
that  dimension  at  the  time  of  the  experience?  After  investi- 
gating large  numbers  of  such  cases,  I can  only  surmise  that 
there  are  two  reasons.  First  of  all,  there  must  be  a degree 
of  self-determination  involved,  allowing  the  subject  to  go 
forward  to  the  next  dimension  or  return  to  the  body.  As  a 
matter  of  fact,  in  many  cases,  though  not  in  all,  the  person 
is  being  given  that  choice  and  elects  to  return  to  earth.  Sec- 
ondly, by  the  dissemination  of  these  witnesses’  reports 
among  those  in  the  physical  world,  knowledge  is  put  at  our 
disposal,  or  rather  at  the  disposal  of  those  who  wish  to  lis- 
ten. It  is  a little  like  a congressional  leak — short  of  an  offi- 
cial announcement,  but  much  more  than  a mere  rumor.  In 
the  final  analysis,  those  who  are  ready  to  understand  the 
nature  of  life  will  derive  benefits  from  this  information,  and 
those  who  are  not  ready,  will  not. 


The  Nature  of  Life  and  Death 


21 


7 


i 


* 


CHAPTER  TWO 


What  Every 
Would-be 
Ghost  Hunter 
Should  Know 


EVER  SINCE  I WROTE  my  first  book,  entitled  Ghost  Hunter,  in  1965,  that  epithet  has  stuck  to 

me  like  glue  even  when  it  was  clearly  not  politic,  such  as  when  I started  to  teach  parapsychol- 
ogy at  the  New  York  Institute  of  Technology  and  received  a professorship.  As  more  and  more 
of  my  true  ghost  stories  appeared  in  my  books,  a new  vogue — amateur  ghost  hunting — sprang  up. 

Some  of  these  ghost  hunters  were  genuinely  interested  in  research,  but  many  were  strictly  looking  for  a 
thrill  or  just  curious.  Foolish  assumptions  accompany  every  fad,  as  well  as  some  dangers.  Often  a lack 
of  understanding  of  the  aspects  of  ghost  hunting,  of  what  the  phenomena  mean,  is  harmless;  on  the 
more  serious  side,  this  lack  of  knowledge  can  cause  problems  at  times,  especially  when  the  possibility 
exists  of  making  contact  with  a negative  person  for  whom  death  has  changed  very  little. 

However,  readers  should  keep  in  mind  when  looking  at  these  pages  the  need  to  forget  a popular 
notion  about  ghosts:  that  they  are  always  dangerous,  fearful,  and  hurt  people.  Nothing  could  be  fur- 
ther from  the  truth.  Nor  are  ghosts  figments  of  the  imagination,  or  the  product  of  motion  picture  writ- 
ers. Ghostly  experiences  are  neither  supernatural  nor  unnatural;  they  fit  into  the  general  pattern  of  the 
universe  we  live  in,  although  the  majority  of  conventional  scientists  don’t  yet  understand  what  exactly 
ghosts  are.  Some  do,  however — those  who  have  studied  parapsychology  have  come  to  understand  that 
human  life  does  continue  beyond  what  we  commonly  call  death.  Once  in  a while,  there  are  extraordi- 
nary circumstances  surrounding  a death,  and  these  exceptional  circumstances  create  what  we  popularly 
call  ghosts  and  haunted  houses. 

Ever  since  the  dawn  of  humankind,  people  have  believed  in  ghosts.  The  fear  of  the  unknown,  the 
certainty  that  there  was  something  somewhere  out  there,  bigger  than  life,  beyond  its  pale,  and  more 
powerful  than  anything  walking  the  earth,  has  persisted  throughout  the  ages,  and  had  its  origins  in 
primitive  man’s  thinking.  To  him,  there  were  good  and  evil  forces  at  work  in  nature,  which  were  ruled 
over  by  supernatural  beings,  and  were  to  some 
degree  capable  of  being  influenced  by  the  attitudes 

and  prayers  of  humans.  Fear  of  death  was,  of  What  Every  Would-be 

Ghost  Hunter  Should  Know 


23 


course,  one  of  the  strongest  human  emotions.  It  still  is. 
Although  some  belief  in  survival  after  physical  death  has 
existed  from  the  beginning  of  time,  no  one  has  ever  cher- 
ished the  notion  of  leaving  this  earth. 

Then  what  are  ghosts — if  indeed  there  are  such 
things?  To  the  materialist  and  the  professional  skeptic — 
that  is  to  say,  people  who  do  not  wish  their  belief  that 
death  is  the  end  of  life  as  we  know  it  to  be  disturbed — the 
notion  of  ghosts  is  unacceptable.  No  matter  how  much  evi- 
dence is  presented  to  support  the  reality  of  the  phenomena, 
these  people  will  argue  against  it  and  ascribe  it  to  any  of 
several  "natural”  causes.  Delusion  or  hallucination  must  be 
the  explanation,  or  perhaps  a mirage,  if  not  outright  trick- 
ery. Entire  professional  groups  that  deal  in  the  manufactur- 
ing of  illusions  have  taken  it  upon  themselves  to  label 
anything  that  defies  their  ability  to  reproduce  it  artificially 
through  trickery  or  manipulation  as  false  or  nonexistent. 
Especially  among  photographers  and  magicians,  the  notion 
that  ghosts  exist  has  never  been  popular.  But  authentic 
reports  of  psychic  phenomena  along  ghostly  lines  keep 
coming  into  reputable  report  centers  such  as  societies  for 
psychic  research,  or  to  parapsychologists  like  myself. 

Granted,  a certain  number  of  these  reports  may  be 
inaccurate  due  to  self-delusion  or  other  errors  of  fact.  Still 
an  impressive  number  of  cases  remains  that  cannot  be 
explained  by  any  other  means  than  that  of  extrasensory 
perception. 

According  to  psychic  research,  a ghost  appears  to  be 
a surviving  emotional  memory  of  someone  who  has  died 
traumatically,  and  usually  tragically,  but  is  unaware  of  his 
or  her  death.  A few  ghosts  may  realize  that  they  are  dead 
but  may  be  confused  as  to  where  they  are,  or  why  they  do 
not  feel  quite  the  way  they  used  to  feel.  When  death 
occurs  unexpectedly  or  unacceptably,  or  when  a person  has 
lived  in  a place  for  a very  long  time,  acquiring  certain  rou- 
tine habits  and  becoming  very  attached  to  the  premises, 
sudden,  unexpected  death  may  come  as  a shock.  Unwilling 
to  part  with  the  physical  world,  such  human  personalities 
continue  to  stay  on  in  the  very  spot  where  their  tragedy  or 
their  emotional  attachment  had  existed  prior  to  physical 
death. 

Ghosts  do  not  travel;  they  do  not  follow  people 
home;  nor  do  they  appear  at  more  than  one  place.  Never- 
theless, there  are  reliable  reports  of  apparitions  of  the  dead 
having  indeed  traveled  and  appeared  to  several  people  in 
various  locations.  These,  however,  are  not  ghosts  in  the 
sense  that  I understand  the  term.  They  are  free  spirits,  or 
discarnate  entities,  who  are  inhabiting  what  Dr.  Joseph  B. 
Rhine  of  Duke  University  has  called  the  “world  of  the 
mind.”  They  may  be  attracted  for  emotional  reasons  to  one 
place  or  another  at  a given  moment  in  order  to  communi- 
cate with  someone  on  the  earth  plane.  But  a true  ghost  is 
unable  to  make  such  moves  freely.  Ghosts  by  their  very 

CHAPTER  TWO:  What  Every  Would-be 
Ghost  Hunter  Should  Know 


nature  are  not  unlike  psychotics  in  the  flesh;  they  are  quite 
unable  to  fully  understand  their  own  predicament.  They 
are  kept  in  place,  both  in  time  and  space,  by  their  emo- 
tional ties  to  the  spot.  Nothing  can  pry  them  loose  from  it 
so  long  as  they  are  reliving  over  and  over  again  in  their 
minds  the  events  leading  to  their  unhappy  deaths. 

Sometimes  this  is  difficult  for  the  ghost,  as  he  may  be 
too  strongly  attached  to  feelings  of  guilt  or  revenge  to  “let 
go.”  But  eventually  a combination  of  informative  remarks 
by  the  parapsychologist  and  suggestions  to  call  upon  the 
deceased  person’s  family  will  pry  him  loose  and  send  him 
out  into  the  free  world  of  the  spirit. 

Ghosts  have  never  harmed  anyone  except  through 
fear  found  within  the  witness,  of  his  own  doing  and 
because  of  his  own  ignorance  as  to  what  ghosts  represent. 
The  few  cases  where  ghosts  have  attacked  people  of  flesh 
and  blood,  such  as  the  ghostly  abbot  of  Trondheim,  are 
simply  a matter  of  mistaken  identity,  where  extreme  vio- 
lence at  the  time  of  death  has  left  a strong  residue  of  mem- 
ory in  the  individual  ghost.  By  and  large,  it  is  entirely  safe 
to  be  a ghost  hunter  or  to  become  a witness  to  phenomena 
of  this  kind. 

In  his  chapter  on  ghosts,  in  Man,  Myth,  and  Magic, 
Douglas  Hill  presents  alternate  hypotheses  one  by  one  and 
examines  them.  Having  done  so,  he  states,  "None  of  these 
explanations  is  wholly  satisfactory,  for  none  seems  applica- 
ble to  the  whole  range  of  ghost  lore.”  Try  as  man  might, 
ghosts  can’t  be  explained  away,  nor  will  they  disappear. 
They  continue  to  appear  frequently  all  over  the  world,  to 
young  and  old,  rich  and  poor,  in  old  houses  and  in  new 
houses,  on  airports  and  in  streets,  and  wherever  tragedy 
strikes  man.  For  ghosts  are  indeed  nothing  more  or  nothing 
less  than  a human  being  trapped  by  special  circumstances 
in  this  world  while  already  being  of  the  next.  Or,  to  put  it 
another  way,  a human  being  whose  spirit  is  unable  to  leave 
the  earthy  surroundings  because  of  unfinished  business  or 
emotional  entanglements. 

It  is  important  not  to  be  influenced  by  popular  rendi- 
tions of  ghostly  phenomena.  This  holds  true  with  most 
movies,  with  the  lone  exception  of  the  recent  picture  Ghost, 
which  was  quite  accurate.  Television,  where  distortions  and 
outright  inventions  abound,  is  especially  troublesome.  The 
so-called  “reality”  shows  such  as  "Sightings”  and  some  of 
its  imitators  like  to  present  as  much  visual  evidence  of 
ghosts  as  they  can — all  within  a span  of  seven  minutes,  the 
obligatory  length  for  a story  in  such  programs. 

To  capture  the  attention  of  an  eager  audience,  these 
shows  present  “authorities”  as  allegedly  renowned  parapsy- 
chologists who  chase  after  supposed  ghosts  with  all  sorts  of 
technical  equipment,  from  Geiger  counters  to  oscilloscopes 
to  plain  flashlights.  No  professional  investigator  who  has 
had  academic  training  uses  any  of  this  stuff,  but  the  pro- 
grams don’t  really  care. 

Another  difficult  aspect  of  the  quest  for  ghosts  is  that 
not  everything  that  appears  to  fit  the  category  does  indeed 
belong  in  it. 


24 


Phenomena,  encounters,  and  experiences  are  either 
visual,  auditory,  or  olfactory — they  are  manufactured 
through  sight,  sound,  or  smell.  In  addition,  there  are  pol- 
tergeist phenomena,  which  are  nothing  more  than  products 
of  the  phase  of  a haunting  when  the  entity  is  capable  of 
producing  physical  effects,  such  as  the  movement  of 
objects. 

Even  an  experienced  investigator  can’t  always  tell  to 
which  class  of  phenomena  an  event  belongs — only  after 
further  investigation  over  an  extended  period  of  time  is  an 
explanation  forthcoming. 

All  three  types  of  the  phenomena  (except  for  polter- 
geists) can  be  caused  by  the  following: 

1 . A bona  fide  ghost — that  is,  a person  who  has 
passed  out  of  the  physical  body  but  remains  in  the  etheric 
body  (aura,  soul)  at  or  near  the  place  of  the  passing  due  to 
emotional  ties  or  trauma.  Such  entities  are  people  in  trou- 
ble, who  are  seeking  to  understand  their  predicament  and 
are  usually  not  aware  of  their  own  passing. 

The  proof  that  the  ghost  is  “real”  lies  in  the  behavior 
of  the  phenomena.  If  different  witnesses  have  seen  or  heard 
different  things,  or  at  different  times  of  the  day,  then  we 
are  dealing  with  a ghost. 

In  the  mind  of  the  casual  observer,  of  course,  ghosts 
and  spirits  are  the  same  thing.  Not  so  to  the  trained  para- 
psychologist: ghosts  are  similar  to  psychotic  human  beings, 
incapable  of  reasoning  for  themselves  or  taking  much 
action.  Spirits,  on  the  other  hand,  are  the  surviving  person- 
alities of  all  of  us  who  pass  through  the  door  of  death  in  a 
relatively  normal  fashion.  A spirit  is  capable  of  continuing 
a full  existence  in  the  next  dimension,  and  can  think,  rea- 
son, feel,  and  act,  while  his  unfortunate  colleague,  the 
ghost,  can  do  none  of  these  things.  All  he  can  do  is  repeat 
the  final  moments  of  his  passing,  the  unfinished  business, 
as  it  were,  over  and  over  again  until  it  becomes  an  obses- 
sion. In  this  benighted  state,  ghosts  are  incapable  of  much 
action  and  therefore  are  almost  always  harmless.  In  the 
handful  of  cases  where  ghosts  seem  to  have  caused  people 
suffering,  a relationship  existed  between  the  person  and  the 
ghost.  Someone  slept  in  a bed  in  which  someone  else  had 
been  murdered  and  was  mistaken  by  the  murderer  for  the 
same  individual,  or  the  murderer  returned  to  the  scene  of 
his  crime  and  was  attacked  by  the  person  he  had  killed. 

But  by  and  large,  ghosts  do  not  attack  people,  and  there  is 
no  danger  in  observing  them  or  having  contact  with  them, 
if  one  is  able  to. 

The  majority  of  ghostly  manifestations  draw  upon 
energy  from  the  living  in  order  to  penetrate  our  three- 
dimensional  world.  Other  manifestations  are  subjective, 
especially  when  the  receiver  is  psychic.  In  this  case,  the 
psychic  person  hears  or  sees  the  departed  individual  in  his 
mind’s  eye  only,  while  others  cannot  so  observe  the  ghost. 

Where  an  objective  manifestation  takes  place,  and 
everyone  present  is  capable  of  hearing  or  seeing  it,  energy 
drawn  from  the  living  is  used  by  the  entity  to  cause  certain 


phenomena,  such  as  an  apparition,  a voice  phenomenon,  or 
perhaps  the  movement  of  objects,  the  sound  of  footsteps, 
or  doors  opening  by  themselves,  and  other  signs  of  a pres- 
ence. When  the  manifestations  become  physical  in  nature 
and  are  capable  of  being  observed  by  several  individuals  or 
recorded  by  machines,  they  are  called  poltergeist  phenom- 
ena, or  noisy  phenomena.  Not  every  ghostly  manifestation 
leads  to  that  stage,  but  many  do.  Frequently,  the  presence 
in  the  household  of  young  children  or  of  mentally  handi- 
capped older  people  lends  itself  to  physical  manifestations 
of  this  kind,  since  the  unused  or  untapped  sexual  energies 
are  free  to  be  used  for  that  purpose. 

Ghosts — that  is,  individuals  unaware  of  their  own 
passing  or  incapable  of  accepting  the  transition  because  of 
unfinished  business — will  make  themselves  known  to  living 
people  at  infrequent  intervals.  There  is  no  sure  way  of 
knowing  when  or  why  some  individuals  make  a post- 
mortem appearance  and  others  do  not.  It  seems  to  depend 
on  the  intensity  of  feeling,  the  residue  of  unresolved  prob- 
lems, that  they  have  within  their  system  at  the  time  of 
death.  Consequently,  not  everyone  dying  a violent  death 
becomes  a ghost;  far  from  it.  If  this  were  so,  our  battle- 
fields and  such  horror-laden  places  as  concentration  camps 
or  prisons  would  indeed  be  swarming  with  ghosts,  but  they 
are  not.  It  depends  on  the  individual  attitude  of  the  person 
at  the  time  of  death,  whether  he  or  she  accepts  the  passing 
and  proceeds  to  the  next  stage  of  existence,  or  whether  he 
or  she  is  incapable  of  realizing  that  a change  is  taking  place 
and  consequently  clings  to  the  familiar  physical  environ- 
ment, the  earth  sphere. 

A common  misconception  concerning  ghosts  is  that 
they  appear  only  at  midnight,  or,  at  any  rate,  only  at  night; 
or  that  they  eventually  fade  away  as  time  goes  on.  To 
begin  with,  ghosts  are  split-off  parts  of  a personality  and 
are  incapable  of  realizing  the  difference  between  day  and 
night.  They  are  always  in  residence,  so  to  speak,  and  can 
be  contacted  by  properly  equipped  mediums  at  all  times. 
They  may  put  in  an  appearance  only  at  certain  hours  of 
the  day  or  night,  depending  upon  the  atmosphere;  for  the 
fewer  physical  disturbances  there  are,  the  easier  it  is  for 
them  to  communicate  themselves  to  the  outer  world.  They 
are  dimly  aware  that  there  is  something  out  there  that  is 
different  from  themselves,  but  their  diminished  reality  does 
not  permit  them  to  grasp  the  situation  fully.  Consequently, 
a quiet  moment,  such  as  is  more  likely  to  be  found  at  night 
than  in  the  daytime,  is  the  period  when  the  majority  of 
sightings  are  reported. 

Some  manifestations  occur  on  the  exact  moment  of 
the  anniversary,  because  it  is  then  that  the  memory  of  the 
unhappy  event  is  strongest.  But  that  does  not  mean  that 
the  ghost  is  absent  at  other  times — merely  less  capable  of 
manifesting  itself.  Since  ghosts  are  not  only  expressions  of 
human  personality  left  behind  in  the  physical  atmosphere 

What  Every  Would-be 
Ghost  Hunter  Should  Know 


25 


but  are,  in  terms  of  physical  science,  electromagnetic  fields 
uniquely  impressed  by  the  personality  and  memories  of  the 
departed  one,  they  represent  a certain  energy  imprint  in  the 
atmosphere  and,  as  such,  cannot  simply  fade  into  nothing- 
ness. Albert  Einstein  demonstrated  that  energy  never  dissi- 
pates, it  only  transmutes  into  other  forms.  Thus  ghosts  do 
not  fade  away  over  the  centuries;  they  are,  in  effect,  present 
for  all  eternity  unless  someone  makes  contact  with  them 
through  a trance  medium  and  brings  reality  to  them,  allow- 
ing them  to  understand  their  predicament  and  thus  free 
themselves  from  their  self-imposed  prison.  The  moment 
the  mirror  of  truth  is  held  up  to  a ghost,  and  he  or  she 
realizes  that  the  problems  that  seem  insoluble  are  no  longer 
important,  he  or  she  will  be  able  to  leave. 

Frequently,  rescuers  have  to  explain  that  the  only 
way  a ghost  can  leave  is  by  calling  out  to  someone  close  to 
her  in  life — a loved  one  or  a friend  who  will  then  come  and 
take  her  away  with  them  into  the  next  stage  of  existence, 
where  she  should  have  gone  long  before.  This  is  called  the 
rescue  circle  and  is  a rather  delicate  operation  requiring  the 
services  of  a trained  psychical  researcher  and  a good  trance 
medium.  Amateurs  are  warned  not  to  attempt  it,  especially 
not  alone. 

2.  No  more  than  10-1 5%  of  all  sightings  or  other 
phenomena  are  “real”  ghosts.  The  larger  portion  of  all 
sightings  or  sound  phenomena  is  caused  by  a replaying  of  a 
past  emotional  event,  one  that  has  somehow  been  left 
behind,  impressed  into  the  atmosphere  of  the  place  or 
house.  Any  sensitive  person — and  that  means  a large  seg- 
ment of  the  population — can  re -experience  such  events  to 
varying  degrees.  To  them  these  replays  may  seem  no  dif- 
ferent from  true  ghostly  phenomena,  except  that  they  occur 
exactly  in  the  same  place  and  at  the  same  time  of  day  to  all 
those  who  witness  them. 

These  phenomena  are  called  psychic  impressions,  and 
they  are  in  a way  like  photographs  of  past  events,  usually 
those  with  high  emotional  connotations. 

3.  There  are  cases  in  which  sightings  or  sounds  of 
this  kind  are  caused  by  the  living  who  are  far  away,  not  in 
time  but  geographically.  “Phantoms  of  the  living”  is  one 
name  given  the  phenomenon,  which  is  essentially  tele- 
pathic. Usually  these  apparitions  or  sounds  occur  when  it 
is  urgent  that  a person  reach  someone  who  is  at  a distance, 
such  as  in  family  crises,  emergencies,  or  on  occasion, 
between  lovers  or  people  who  are  romantically  linked. 

These  projections  of  the  inner  body  are  involuntary, 
and  cannot  be  controlled.  A variant  of  these  phenomena, 
however,  deliberate  projections,  which  occur  when  a person 
puts  all  her  emotional  strength  into  reaching  someone  who 
is  far  away.  Instances  of  this  are  quite  rare,  however. 


CHAPTER  TWO:  What  Every  Would-be 
Ghost  Hunter  Should  Know 


4.  Finally,  we  should  keep  in  mind  that  though 
apparitions  may  appear  to  be  identical,  whether  as  earth- 
bound  spirits  called  ghosts,  or  free  spirits  in  full  possession 
of  all  mental  and  emotional  faculties  and  memories — just 
visiting,  so  to  speak,  to  convey  a message — ghosts  and  spir- 
its are  not  the  same. 

Compare  a ghostly  apparition  or  a spirit  visit  to  a 
precious  stone:  a diamond  and  a zircon  look  practically  the 
same,  but  they  are  totally  different  in  their  value.  Spirits 
are  people  like  you  and  I who  have  passed  on  to  the  next 
world  without  too  much  difficulty  or  too  many  problems; 
they  are  not  bound  to  anything  left  behind  in  the  physical 
world.  They  do,  however,  have  ties  and  emotional  interests 
in  the  family  or  friends  they  left  behind,  and  they  might 
need  to  let  people  in  this  world  know  that  they  are  all  right 
"over  there,”  or  they  may  have  some  business  in  the  living 
world  that  needs  to  be  taken  care  of  in  an  orderly  fashion. 
Ghosts,  too,  may  have  unfinished  business,  but  are  gener- 
ally unable  to  convey  their  requests  clearly. 

Spirits,  people  who  have  died  and  are  living  in  their 
duplicate  "inner  body,”  the  etheric  body  or  aura,  are  differ- 
ent from  physical  living  people  in  respect  to  certain  limita- 
tions and  the  time  element,  but  spirits  are  simply  people 
who  have  passed  on  to  the  next  world  with  their  memories 
and  interests  intact. 

The  only  thing  these  four  categories  of  phenomena 
have  indeed  in  common  is  their  density:  they  seem  three- 
dimensional  and  quite  solid  most  of  the  time  (though  not 
always),  but  try  to  touch  one,  and  your  hand  will  go  right 
through. 

Only  materializations  are  truly  three-dimensional  and 
physical,  and  they  do  occur  when  there  is  enough  energy 
present  to  "clothe”  the  etheric  body  with  an  albumin  sub- 
stance called  ectoplasm  or  teleplasm,  drawn  from  the 
glands  of  the  medium  and/or  assistants  (known  as  sitters) 
during  a seance,  and  sometimes  even  spontaneously  site 
where  something  very  powerfully  traumatic  has  occurred 
in  the  past. 

Such  materializations  look  and  even  feel  like  physical 
bodies,  but  touching  them  may  dissolve  them  or  hurt  the 
principal  medium,  as  does  bright  light.  In  any  event,  the 
ectoplasm  must  be  returned  whence  it  came  to  avoid  shock 
and  illness. 

The  temptation  to  reproduce  that  rarest  of  all  psychic 
phenomena,  the  full  materialization,  is  of  course  always 
present,  but  also  easy  to  spot.  When  I unmasked  a group 
of  such  fakers  as  part  of  an  investigation  into  one  of  the 
Spiritualist  camps  in  Pennsylvania,  I presented  the  evidence 
on  television  in  a program  I helped  produce  and  appeared 
in  with  Mike  Wallace,  who  remarked,  “You  mean  these  are 
only  ghostly  actors?”  to  which  I replied  spontaneously, 

“No,  just  ghastly  actors,  because  I caught  them  in  the  act.” 

Seances,  which  are  nothing  fancier  than  a group  of 
people  getting  together  for  a “sitting”  in  the  hope  that  a 
departed  spirit  might  be  able  to  communicate  through  her 


26 


or  his  principal  medium  or  one  of  the  sitters,  have  fallen 
out  of  favor  these  days.  But  if  someone  asks  you  to  a 
seance  promising  you  that  someone  on  the  other  side  of  life 
will  be  contacted,  or  “called” — beware.  The  folks  on  the 
other  side  are  the  ones  who  decide  that  they  want  contact 
with  us,  not  the  other  way  around. 

Ouija  Boards,  crystal  balls,  and  tarot  cards  are  all 
useful  in  helping  a psychic  focus  his  or  her  natural  gift,  but 
they  have  no  powers  of  their  own.  Using  a board  can  bring 
trouble  if  those  using  it  are  potential  deep-trance  mediums, 
because  an  unscrupulous  person  on  the  other  side  might 
want  to  come  in  and  take  over  the  players,  which  would 
result  in  possession. 

Communication  with  ghosts  or  spirits  does  sometimes 
occur,  however,  when  one  of  the  persons  operating  the 
board  is  psychic  enough  to  supply  the  energy  for  a com- 
munication to  take  place.  But  the  majority  of  what  comes 
through  a Ouija  board  is  just  stuff  from  the  sitter’s  own 
unconscious  mind,  and  often  it  is  just  gibberish. 

A word  about  the  dreams  of  ghosts  or  departed  loved 
ones.  We  are  either  awake  or  asleep.  In  my  view,  however, 
if  we  are  asleep  we  are  “adream,”  for  we  dream  all  the  time 
even  if  we  don’t  always  remember  it  or  are  not  aware  of  it. 

Some  psychic  experiences  involving  ghosts  and  spirits 
occur  during  sleep  in  the  form  of  quasi-dreams.  These  are 
not  really  bona  fide  dreams.  It  is  just  that  in  the  sleep- 
dream  state,  when  our  conscious  mind  is  at  rest,  the  com- 
municator finds  it  easier  to  “get  through”  to  us  than  when 
we  are  fully  awake  and  our  conscious  mind  and  rational 
attitude  make  it  harder  for  the  communicator’s  emanations 
to  penetrate  our  consciousness. 

Many  who  have  had  such  dream  visitations  think  that 
they  “just  dreamt”  the  whole  thing,  and  the  medical  estab- 
lishment encourages  this  by  and  large,  classifying  such 
events  as  quasi -fantasies  or  nightmares,  as  the  case  may  be. 
But  in  reality,  they  are  nothing  of  the  kind.  These  dreams 
are  just  as  real  and  as  meaningful  in  their  purpose  as  are 
encounters  with  ghosts  or  spirits  when  one  is  fully  awake, 
either  at  night  or  in  plain  daylight. 

In  the  dream  state,  visitors  do  not  cast  objective 
shadows,  as  they  often  do  in  the  waking  condition,  but 
they  are  actual  people,  existing  in  etheric  bodies,  who  are 
making  contact  with  our  own  etheric  bodies.  The  message, 
if  any,  is  often  much  clearer  than  it  is  with  ordinary 
dreams. 

We  should  pay  attention  to  such  incursions  from  the 
world  next  door,  and  the  people  who  continue  their  exis- 
tence therein,  whether  the  event  occurs  while  one  is  awake 
or  asleep.  Most  important  of  all,  do  not  fear  either  ghosts 
or  spirits.  They  will  not  harm  you — only  your  own  fear 
can  do  that.  And  fear  is  only  the  absence  of  information. 

By  reading  these  lines,  you  are  taking  an  important  step 
toward  the  understanding  of  what  ghosts  and  spirits  really 
are. 

The  cases  in  this  book  are  taken  from  my  files,  which 
are  bulging  with  interesting  experiences  of  ordinary  people 


in  all  walks  of  life,  and  from  all  corners  of  the  globe.  The 
majority  of  the  witnesses  knew  nothing  about  ghosts,  nor 
did  they  seek  out  such  phenomena.  When  they  experienced 
the  happenings  described  in  these  pages,  they  were  taken 
by  surprise;  sometimes  shocked,  sometimes  worried.  They 
came  to  me  for  advice  because  they  could  not  obtain  satis- 
factory counsel  from  ordinary  sources  such  as  psycholo- 
gists, psychiatrists,  or  ministers. 

Small  wonder,  for  such  professionals  are  rarely 
equipped  to  deal  with  phenomena  involving  parapsychol- 
ogy. Perhaps  in  years  to  come  they  will  be  able  to  do  so, 
but  not  now.  In  all  the  cases,  I advised  the  individuals  not 
to  be  afraid  of  what  might  transpire  in  their  presence,  to 
take  the  phenomenon  as  part  of  human  existence  and  to 
deal  with  it  in  a friendly,  quiet  way.  The  worst  reaction  is 
to  become  panicky  in  the  presence  of  a ghost,  since  it  will 
not  help  the  ghost  and  will  cause  the  observer  unnecessary 
anxiety.  Never  forget  that  those  who  are  “hung  up” 
between  two  phases  of  existence  are  in  trouble  and  not 
troublemakers,  and  a compassionate  gesture  toward  them 
may  very  well  relieve  their  anxieties. 

The  people  whose  cases  I tell  of  in  these  pages  seek 
no  publicity  or  notoriety;  they  have  come  to  terms  with  the 
hauntings  to  which  they  were  witness.  In  some  cases,  a 
haunting  has  changed  a person’s  outlook  on  life  by  show- 
ing him  the  reality  of  another  world  next  door.  In  other 
cases,  what  was  once  fear  has  turned  into  a better  under- 
standing of  the  nature  of  humans;  still  other  instances  have 
permitted  witnesses  to  the  phenomena  a better  understand- 
ing of  the  situation  of  departed  loved  ones,  and  a reassuring 
feeling  that  they  will  meet  again  in  a short  time  on  the 
other  side  of  the  curtain. 

Remember  that  any  of  the  phenomena  described  here 
could  have  happened  to  you,  that  there  is  nothing  supernat- 
ural about  any  of  this,  and  that  in  years  to  come  you  will 
deal  with  apparitions  as  ordinary  events,  part  and  parcel  of 
human  experience. 

Lastly,  I would  suggest  to  my  readers  that  they  do 
not  get  into  arguments  about  the  existence  or  nonexistence 
of  ghosts  and  haunted  houses.  Everyone  must  find  their 
own  explanations  for  what  they  experience,  and  belief  has 
nothing  to  do  with  it. 

Indeed,  one  of  the  most  troubling  aspects  of  today’s 
world  is  this  matter  of  beliefs.  The  power  of  one’s  beliefs  is 
a frightening  thing.  People  often  believe  in  things  and 
events  whether  they  have  actually  happened  or  not. 

Because  of  beliefs  people  are  murdered,  wars  are  fought, 
crimes  are  committed.  Disbelief,  too,  contributes  its  share 
of  tragedies. 

Beliefs — and  disbeliefs — are  emotional  in  nature,  not 
rational.  The  reasoning  behind  certain  beliefs  may  sound 
rational,  but  it  may  be  completely  untrue,  exaggerated, 
taken  out  of  context,  or  distorted. 

What  Every  Would-be 
Ghost  Hunter  Should  Know 


27 


Once  belief  or  disbelief  by  one  person  becomes  pub- 
lic knowledge  and  spreads  to  large  numbers  of  people, 
some  very  serious  problems  arise:  love  and  compassion  go 
out  the  window,  and  emotionally  tinged  beliefs  (or  disbe- 
liefs) take  over,  inevitably  leading  to  action,  and  usually  to 
some  kind  of  violence — physical,  material,  emotional,  or 
moral. 

In  this  world  of  spiritual  uncertainty,  an  ever- 
increasing  contingent  of  people  of  all  ages  and  backgrounds 
want  a better,  safer  world  free  of  fanaticism,  a world  where 
discussion  and  mutual  tolerance  takes  the  place  of  violent 
confrontation. 

It  is  sad  but  true  that  religion,  far  from  pacifying  the 
destructive  emotions,  frequently  contributes  to  them,  and 
sometimes  is  found  at  the  very  heart  of  the  problem  itself. 
For  religion  today  has  drifted  so  far  from  spirituality  that  it 
no  longer  represents  the  link  to  the  deity  that  it  originally 
stood  for,  when  the  world  was  young  and  smaller. 

When  people  kill  one  another  because  their  alleged 
paths  to  the  deity  differ,  they  may  need  a signpost  indicat- 
ing where  to  turn  to  regain  what  has  been  patently  lost.  I 
think  this  signpost  is  the  evidence  for  humankind's  survival 
of  physical  death,  as  shown  in  these  pages,  the  eternal  link 
between  those  who  have  gone  on  into  the  next  phase  of  life 
and  those  who  have  been  left  behind,  at  least  temporarily. 

Belief  is  uncritical  acceptance  of  something  you  can- 
not prove  one  way  or  another.  But  the  evidence  for  ghosts 
and  hauntings  is  so  overwhelming,  so  large  and  so  well 
documented,  that  arguing  over  the  existence  of  the  evi- 
dence would  be  a foolish  thing  indeed. 


It  is  not  a matter  for  speculation  and  in  need  of  fur- 
ther proofs:  those  who  look  for  evidence  of  the  afterlife  can 
easily  find  it,  not  only  in  these  pages  but  also  in  many 
other  works  and  in  the  records  of  groups  investigating  psy- 
chic phenomena  through  scientific  research. 

Once  we  realize  how  the  “system”  works,  and  that 
we  pass  on  to  another  stage  of  existence,  our  perspective  on 
life  is  bound  to  change.  I consider  it  part  of  my  work  and 
mission  to  contribute  knowledge  to  this  end,  to  clarify  the 
confusion,  the  doubts,  the  negativity  so  common  in  people 
today,  and  to  replace  these  unfortunate  attitudes  with  a 
wider  expectation  of  an  ongoing  existence  where  everything 
one  does  in  one  lifetime  counts  toward  the  next  phase,  and 
toward  the  return  to  another  lifetime  in  the  physical  world. 

Those  who  fear  the  proof  of  the  continued  existence 
beyond  the  dissolution  of  the  physical,  outer  body  and 
would  rather  not  know  about  it  are  short-changing  them- 
selves, for  surely  they  will  eventually  discover  the  truth 
about  the  situation  first-hand  anyway. 

And  while  there  may  be  various  explanations  for 
what  people  experience  in  haunted  houses,  no  explanation 
will  ever  be  sufficient  to  negate  the  experiences  themselves. 
If  you  are  one  of  the  many  who  enter  a haunted  house  and 
have  a genuine  experience  in  it,  be  assured  that  you  are  a 
perfectly  normal  human  being,  who  uses  a natural  gift  that 
is  neither  harmful  nor  dangerous  and  may  in  the  long  run 
be  informative  and  even  useful. 


CHAPTER  TWO:  What  Every  Would-be 
Ghost  Hunter  Should  Know 
28 


CHAPTER  THREE 


Ghosts  and  the 
World  of  the  Living 


I HASTEN  TO  STATE  that  those  who  are  in  the  next  dimension,  the  world  of  the  spirit,  are  indeed 
“alive” — in  some  ways  more  so  than  we  who  inhabit  the  three-dimensional,  physical  world  with  its 
limitations  and  problems. 

This  book  is  about  ghosts  in  relation  to  us,  however,  for  it  is  the  living  in  this  world  who  come  in 
contact  with  the  dead.  Since  ghosts  don’t  necessarily  seek  us  out,  ghosts  just  are  because  of  the  cir- 
cumstances of  their  deaths. 

For  us  to  be  able  to  see  or  hear  a ghost  requires  a gift  known  as  psychic  ability  or  ESP — extra- 
sensory perception.  Professor  Joseph  Banks  Rhine  of  Duke  University  thinks  of  ESP  as  an  extra  sense. 
Some  have  referred  to  it  as  “the  sixth  sense,”  although  I rather  think  the  gift  of  ESP  is  merely  an 
extension  of  the  ordinary  senses  beyond  their  usual  limitations. 

If  you  don’t  have  ESP,  you’re  not  likely  to  encounter  a ghost  or  connect  with  the  spirit  of  a loved 
one.  Take  heart,  however:  ESP  is  very  common,  in  varying  degrees,  and  about  half  of  all  people  are 
capable  of  it.  It  is,  in  my  view,  a normal  gift  that  has  in  many  instances  been  neglected  or  suppressed 
for  various  reasons,  chiefly  ignorance  or  fear. 

Psychic  ability  is  being  recognized  and  used  today  worldwide  in  many  practical  applications.  Sci- 
entific research,  business,  and  criminal  investigations  have  utilized  this  medium  to  extend  the  range  of 
ordinary  research. 

The  problems  of  acknowledging  this  extra  faculty  are  many.  Prior  to  the  nineteenth  century,  any- 
thing bordering  on  the  occult  was  considered  religious  heresy  and  had  to  be  suppressed  or  at  least  kept 
quiet.  In  the  nineteenth  century,  with  social  and  economic  revolution  came  an  overbearing  insistence 
on  things  material,  and  science  was  made  a new  god.  This  god  of  tangible  evidence  leaped  into  our 
present  century  invigorated  by  new  technological  discoveries  and  improvements.  Central  to  all  this  is 
the  belief  that  only  what  is  available  to  the  ordinary  five  senses  is  real,  and  that  everything  else  is  not 
merely  questionable  but  outright  fantasy.  Fantasy 
itself  is  not  long  for  this  world,  as  it  does  not  seem 

Ghosts  and  the  World  of  the  Living 


29 


to  fill  any  useful  purpose  in  the  realm  of  computers  and 
computerized  humans. 

Laboring  under  these  difficult  conditions,  Dr.  Rhine 
developed  a new  scientific  approach  to  the  phenomena  of 
the  sixth  sense  some  thirty  years  ago  when  he  brought 
together  and  formalized  many  diffused  research  approaches 
in  his  laboratory  at  Duke  University.  But  pure  materialism 
dies  hard — in  fact,  dies  not  at  all.  Even  while  Rhine  was 
offering  proof  for  the  “psi  factor”  in  human  personality — 
fancy  talk  for  the  sixth  sense — he  was  attacked  by  expo- 
nents of  the  physical  sciences  as  being  a dreamer  or  worse. 
Nevertheless,  Rhine  continued  his  work  and  others  came  to 
his  aid,  and  new  organizations  came  into  being  to  investi- 
gate and,  if  possible,  explain  the  workings  of  extrasensory 
perception. 

To  define  the  extra  sense  is  simple  enough.  When 
knowledge  of  events  or  facts  is  gained  without  recourse  to 
the  normal  five  senses — sight,  hearing,  smell,  touch,  and 
taste — or  when  this  knowledge  is  obtained  with  apparent 
disregard  to  the  limitations  of  time  and  space,  we  speak  of 
extrasensory  perception. 

It  is  essential,  of  course,  that  the  person  experiencing 
the  sixth-sense  phenomena  has  had  no  access  to  knowledge, 
either  conscious  or  unconscious,  of  the  facts  or  events,  and 
that  her  impressions  are  subsequently  corroborated  by  wit- 
nesses or  otherwise  proved  correct  by  the  usual  methods  of 
exact  science. 

It  is  also  desirable,  at  least  from  an  experimental 
point  of  view,  that  a person  having  an  extrasensory  dealing 
with  events  in  the  so-called  future  should  make  this 
impression  known  at  once  to  impartial  witnesses  so  that  it 
can  be  verified  later  when  the  event  does  transpire.  This,  of 
course,  is  rarely  possible  because  of  the  very  nature  of  this 
sixth  sense:  it  cannot  be  turned  on  at  will,  but  functions 
best  during  emergencies,  when  a genuine  need  for  it  exists. 
When  ordinary  communications  fail,  something  within 
men  and  women  reaches  out  and  removes  the  barriers  of 
time  and  space  to  allow  for  communication  beyond  the  five 
senses. 

There  is  no  doubt  in  my  mind  that  extrasensory  phe- 
nomena are  governed  by  emotional  impulses  and  therefore 
present  problems  far  different  from  those  of  the  physical 
sciences.  Despite  the  successful  experiments  with  cards  and 
dice  conducted  for  years  at  the  Duke  University  parapsy- 
chology laboratory,  an  ESP  experience  is  not  capable  of 
exact  duplication  at  will. 

Parapsychology,  that  is,  the  science  investigating  the 
phenomena  of  this  kind,  has  frequently  been  attacked  on 
these  grounds.  And  yet  normal  psychology,  which  also 
deals  with  human  emotions,  does  not  require  an  exact 
duplication  of  phenomena  under  laboratory  conditions.  Of 
course,  psychology  and  psychiatry  themselves  were  under 
attack  in  the  past,  and  have  found  a comfortable  niche  of 

CHAPTER  THREE:  Ghosts  and  the 
World  of  the  Living 


respectability  only  recently.  It  is  human  nature  to  attack  all 
that  is  new  and  revolutionary,  because  man  tends  to  hold 
onto  his  old  gods.  Fifty  years  from  now,  parapsychology 
will  no  doubt  be  one  of  the  older  sciences,  and  hence 
accepted. 

It  is  just  as  scientific  to  collect  data  from  “sponta- 
neous phenomena,”  that  is,  in  the  field,  as  it  is  to  produce 
them  in  a laboratory.  In  fact,  some  of  the  natural  sciences 
could  not  exist  if  it  were  not  for  in  situ  observation.  Try 
and  reconstruct  an  earthquake  in  the  lab,  or  a collision  of 
galaxies,  or  the  birth  of  a new  island  in  the  ocean. 

The  crux,  of  course,  is  the  presence  of  competent 
observers  and  the  frequency  with  which  similar,  but  unre- 
lated, events  occur.  For  example,  if  a hundred  cases  involv- 
ing a poltergeist,  or  noisy  ghost,  are  reported  in  widely 
scattered  areas,  involving  witnesses  who  could  not  possibly 
know  of  each  other,  could  have  communicated  with  each 
other,  or  have  had  access  to  the  same  information  about  the 
event,  it  is  proper  scientific  procedure  to  accept  these 
reports  as  genuine  and  to  draw  certain  conclusions  from 
them. 

Extrasensory  perception  research  does  not  rely 
entirely  on  spontaneous  cases  in  the  field,  but  without  them 
it  would  be  meaningless.  The  laboratory  experiments  are  an 
important  adjunct,  particularly  when  we  deal  with  the 
less  complicated  elements  of  ESP,  such  as  telepathy,  intu- 
ition beyond  chance,  and  psychic  concentration — but  they 
cannot  replace  the  tremendous  impact  of  genuine  precogni- 
tion (the  ability  to  foresee  events  before  they  occur)  and 
other  one-time  events  in  human  experience. 

The  nature  of  ESP  is  spontaneous  and  unexpected. 

You  don't  know  when  you  will  have  an  experience,  you 
can’t  make  it  happen,  and  you  can’t  foretell  when  and  how 
it  will  happen.  Conditions  beyond  your  knowledge  make 
the  experience  possible,  and  you  have  no  control  over  it. 
The  sole  exception  is  the  art  of  proper  thinking — the  train- 
ing toward  a wider  use  of  your  own  ESP  powers — which  we 
will  discuss  later. 

The  ESP  experience  can  take  the  form  of  a hunch,  an 
uncanny  feeling,  or  an  intuitive  impression.  Or  it  can  be 
stronger  and  more  definite,  such  as  a flash,  an  image  or 
auditory  signal,  a warning  voice,  or  a vision,  depending  on 
who  you  are  and  your  inborn  talents  as  a receiver. 

The  first  impulse  with  all  but  the  trained  and  knowl- 
edgeable is  to  suppress  the  "message”  or  to  explain  it  away, 
sometimes  taking  grotesque  paths  in  order  to  avoid  admit- 
ting the  possibility  of  having  had  an  extrasensory  experi- 
ence. Frequently,  such  negative  attitudes  toward  what  is  a 
natural  part  of  human  personality  can  lead  to  tragedy,  or, 
at  the  very  least,  to  annoyance;  for  the  ESP  impulse  is  never 
in  vain.  It  may  be  a warning  of  disaster  or  only  an  advance 
notice  to  look  out  for  good  opportunities  ahead,  but  it 
always  has  significance,  even  though  you  may  miss  the 
meaning  or  choose  to  ignore  the  content.  I call  this  sub- 
stance of  the  ESP  message  cognizance,  since  it  represents 


30 


instant  knowledge  without  logical  factors  or  components 
indicating  time  and  effort  spent  in  obtaining  it. 

The  strange  thing  about  ESP  is  that  it  is  really  far 
more  than  an  extra,  sixth  sense,  equal  in  status  to  the  other 
five.  It  is  actually  a supersense  that  operates  through  the 
other  five  to  get  its  messages  across. 

Thus  a sixth-sense  experience  many  come  through 
the  sense  of  sight  as  a vision,  a flash,  or  an  impression;  the 
sense  of  hearing  as  a voice  or  a sound  effect  duplicating  an 
event  to  be;  the  sense  of  smell  as  strange  scents  indicating 
climates  other  than  the  present  one  or  smells  associated 
with  certain  people  or  places;  the  sense  of  touch — a hand 
on  the  shoulder,  the  furtive  kiss,  or  fingering  by  unseen 
hands;  and  the  sense  of  taste — stimulation  of  the  palate  not 
caused  by  actual  food  or  drink. 

Of  these,  the  senses  of  smell  and  taste  are  rarely  used 
for  ESP  communication,  while  by  far  the  majority  of  cases 
involve  either  sight  or  sound  or  both.  This  must  be  so 
because  these  two  senses  have  the  prime  function  of 
informing  the  conscious  mind  of  the  world  around  us. 

What  has  struck  me,  after  investigating  extrasensory 
phenomena  for  some  twenty-odd  years,  is  the  thought  that 
we  are  not  really  dealing  with  an  additional  dimension  as 
such,  an  additional  sense  like  touch  or  smell,  but  a sense 
that  is  nonphysical — the  psychic,  which,  in  order  to  make 
itself  known,  must  manifest  itself  through  the  physical 
senses.  Rather  than  an  extra  sense,  we  really  have  here  an 
extension  of  the  normal  five  senses  into  an  area  where  logi- 
cal thinking  is  absent  and  other  laws  govern.  We  can  com- 
pare it  to  the  part  of  the  spectrum  that  is  invisible  to  the 
naked  eye.  We  make  full  use  of  infrared  and  ultraviolet  and 
nobody  doubts  the  existence  of  these  "colors,”  which  are 
merely  extensions  of  ordinary  red  and  violet. 

Thus  it  is  with  extrasensory  perception,  and  yet  we 
are  at  once  at  war  with  the  physical  sciences,  which  want 
us  to  accept  only  that  which  is  readily  accessible  to  the  five 
senses,  preferably  in  laboratories.  Until  radio  waves  were 
discovered,  such  an  idea  was  held  to  be  fantastic  under 
modern  science,  and  yet  today  we  use  radio  to  contact  dis- 
tant heavenly  bodies. 

It  all  adds  up  to  this:  Our  normal  human  perception, 
even  with  instruments  extending  it  a little,  is  far  from  com- 
plete. To  assert  that  there  is  no  more  around  us  than  the 
little  we  can  measure  is  preposterous.  It  is  also  dangerous, 
for  in  teaching  this  doctrine  to  our  children,  we  prevent 
them  from  allowing  their  potential  psychic  abilities  to 
develop  unhampered.  In  a field  where  thought  is  a force  to 
be  reckoned  with,  false  thinking  can  be  destructive. 

Sometimes  a well-meaning  but  otherwise  unfamiliar 
reporter  will  ask  me,  "How  does  science  feel  about  ESP?” 
That  is  a little  like  asking  how  mathematics  teachers  feel 
about  Albert  Einstein.  ESP  is  part  of  science.  Some  scien- 
tists in  other  fields  may  have  doubts  about  its  validity  or 
its  potentials,  just  as  scientists  in  one  area  frequently  doubt 
scientists  in  other  areas.  For  example,  some  chemists  doubt 
what  some  medical  science  say  about  the  efficiency  of 


certain  drugs,  or  some  underwater  explorers  differ  with  the 
opinions  expressed  by  space  explorers,  and  the  beliefs  of 
some  medical  doctors  differ  greatly  from  what  other  med- 
ical doctors  believe.  A definition  of  science  is  in  order. 
Contrary  to  what  some  people  think,  science  is  not  knowl- 
edge or  even  comparable  to  the  idea  of  knowledge;  science 
is  merely  the  process  of  gathering  knowledge  by  reliable 
and  recognized  means.  These  means,  however,  may  change 
as  time  goes  on,  and  the  means  considered  reliable  in  the 
past  may  fail  the  test  in  the  future,  while,  conversely,  new 
methods  not  used  in  the  past  may  come  into  prominence 
and  be  found  useful.  To  consider  the  edifice  of  science  an 
immovable  object,  a wall  against  which  one  may  safely  lean 
with  confidence  in  the  knowledge  that  nearly  everything 
worth  knowing  is  already  known,  is  a most  unrealistic  con- 
cept. Just  as  a living  thing  changes  from  day  to  day,  so 
does  science  and  that  which  makes  up  scientific  evidence. 

* * * 

There  are,  however,  forces  within  science  representing 
the  conservative  or  establishment  point  of  view.  These 
forces  are  vested  in  certain  powerful  individuals  who  are 
not  so  much  unconvinced  of  the  reality  of  controversial 
phenomena  and  the  advisability  of  including  these  phe- 
nomena in  the  scientific  process  as  they  are  unwilling  to 
change  their  established  concept  of  science.  They  are,  in 
short,  unwilling  to  learn  new  and  startling  facts,  many  of 
which  conflict  with  that  which  they  have  learned  in  the 
past,  that  which  forms  the  very  basis  and  foundation  of 
their  scientific  beliefs.  Science  derives  from  scire,  meaning 
“to  know.”  Scientia,  the  Latin  noun  upon  which  our  Eng- 
lish term  “science”  is  based,  is  best  translated  as  “the  abili- 
ty to  know,”  or  perhaps,  “understanding.”  Knowledge  as 
an  absolute  is  another  matter.  I doubt  very  much  that 
absolute  knowledge  is  possible  even  within  the  confines  of 
human  comprehension.  What  we  are  dealing  with  in  sci- 
ence is  a method  of  reaching  toward  it,  not  attaining  it.  In 
the  end,  the  veil  of  secrecy  will  hide  the  ultimate  truth 
from  us,  very  likely  because  we  are  incapable  of  grasping  it 
due  to  insufficient  spiritual  awareness.  This  insufficiency 
expresses  itself,  among  other  ways,  through  a determined 
reliance  upon  terminology  and  frames  of  reference  derived 
from  materialistic  concepts  that  have  little  bearing  upon 
the  higher  strata  of  information.  Every  form  of  research 
requires  its  own  set  of  tools  and  its  own  criteria.  Applying 
the  purely  materialistic  empiric  concepts  of  evidence  to 
nonmaterialistic  areas  is  not  likely  to  yield  satisfactory 
results.  An  entirely  different  set  of  criteria  must  be  estab- 
lished first  before  we  can  hope  to  grasp  the  significance  of 
those  nonmaterial  concepts  and  forces  around  us  that  have 
been  with  us  since  the  beginning  of  time.  These  are  both 
within  us  and  without  us.  They  form  the  innermost  layer  of 
human  consciousness  as  well  as  the  outer  reaches  of  the 
existing  universe. 

Ghosts  and  the  World  of  the  Living 


31 


* * * 

By  and  large,  the  average  scientist  who  is  not  directly 
concerned  with  the  field  of  ESP  and  parapsychology  does 
not  venture  into  it,  either  pro  or  con.  He  is  usually  too 
much  concerned  with  his  own  field  and  with  the  insuffi- 
ciencies found  in  his  own  bailiwick.  Occasionally,  people  in 
areas  that  are  peripheral  to  ESP  and  parapsychology  will 
venture  into  it,  partly  because  they  are  attracted  by  it  and 
sense  a growing  importance  in  the  study  of  those  areas  that 
have  so  long  been  neglected  by  most  scientists,  and  partly 
because  they  feel  that  in  attacking  the  findings  of  parapsy- 
chology they  are  in  some  psychologically  understandable 
way  validating  their  own  failures.  When  Professor  Joseph 
B.  Rhine  first  started  measuring  what  he  called  the  “psi” 
factor  in  man,  critics  were  quick  to  point  out  the  hazards  of 
a system  relying  so  heavily  on  contrived,  artificial  condi- 
tions and  statistics.  Whatever  Professor  Rhine  was  able  to 
prove  in  the  way  of  significant  data  has  since  been  largely 
obscured  by  criticism,  some  of  it  valid  and  some  of  it  not, 
and  of  course  by  the  far  greater  importance  of  observing 
spontaneous  phenomena  in  the  field  when  and  if  they 
occur.  In  the  beginning,  however,  Professor  Rhine  repre- 
sented a milestone  in  scientific  thinking.  It  was  the  first 
time  that  the  area,  formerly  left  solely  to  the  occultist,  had 
been  explored  by  a trained  scientist  in  the  modern  sense  of 
the  term.  Even  then,  no  one  took  the  field  of  parapsycholo- 
gy very  seriously;  Rhine  and  his  closest  associate,  Dr. 
Hornell  Hart,  were  considered  part  of  the  Department  of 
Sociology,  as  there  had  not  as  yet  been  a distinct  Depart- 
ment of  Parapsychology  or  a degree  in  that  new  science. 
Even  today  there  is  no  doctorate  in  it,  and  those  working 
in  the  field  usually  must  have  other  credits  as  well.  But  the 
picture  is  changing.  A few  years  ago,  Dr.  Jules  Eisenbud  of 
the  University  of  Colorado  at  Denver  startled  the  world 
with  his  disclosures  of  the  peculiar  talents  of  a certain  Ted 
Serios,  a Chicago  bellhop  gifted  with  psychic  photography 
talents.  This  man  could  project  images  into  a camera  or 
television  tube,  some  of  which  were  from  the  so-called 
future.  Others  were  from  distant  places  Mr.  Serios  had 
never  been  to.  The  experiments  were  undertaken  under  the 
most  rigid  test  conditions.  They  were  repeated,  which  was 
something  the  old-line  scientists  in  parapsychology  stressed 
over  and  over  again.  Despite  the  abundant  amount  of  evi- 
dence, produced  in  the  glaring  limelight  of  public  attention 
and  under  strictest  scientific  test  conditions,  some  of  Dr. 
Eisenbud ’s  colleagues  at  the  University  of  Colorado  turned 
away  from  him  whenever  he  asked  them  to  witness  the 
experiments  he  was  then  conducting.  So  great  was  the  prej- 
udice against  anything  Eisenbud  and  his  associates  might 
find  that  might  oppose  existing  concepts  that  men  of  sci- 
ence couldn’t  bear  to  find  out  for  themselves.  They  were 
afraid  they  would  have  to  unlearn  a great  deal.  Today, 

CHAPTER  THREE:  Ghosts  and  the 
World  of  the  Living 


even  orthodox  scientists  are  willing  to  listen  more  than  they 
used  to.  There  is  a greater  willingness  to  evaluate  the  evi- 
dence fairly,  and  without  prejudice,  on  the  part  of  those 
who  represent  the  bulk  of  the  scientific  establishment.  Still, 
this  is  a far  cry  from  establishing  an  actual  institute  of  para- 
psychology, independent  of  any  existing  facilities — 
something  I have  been  advocating  for  many  years. 

Most  big  corporate  decisions  are  made  illogically, 
according  to  John  Mihalasky,  Associate  Professor  of  Man- 
agement Engineering  at  the  Newark  College  of  Engineer- 
ing. The  professor  contends  that  logical  people  can 
understand  a scientific  explanation  of  an  illogical  process. 
“Experiments  conducted  by  Professor  Mihalasky  demon- 
strate a correlation  between  superior  management  ability 
and  an  executive’s  extrasensory  perception,  or  ESP.” 
According  to  The  New  York  Times  of  August  31,  1969, 
“research  in  ESP  had  been  conducted  at  the  college  since 
1 962  to  determine  if  there  was  a correlation  between  man- 
agerial talent  and  ESP.  There  are  tests  in  extrasensory  per- 
ception and  also  in  precognition,  the  ability  to  foretell 
events  before  they  happen.  The  same  precognition  tests 
may  also  be  of  use  in  selecting  a person  of  superior  creative 
ability.” 

But  the  business  side  of  the  research  establishment 
was  by  no  means  alone  in  recognizing  the  validity  and 
value  of  ESP.  According  to  an  interview  in  the  Los  Angeles 
Times  of  August  30,  1970,  psychiatrist  Dr.  George  Sjolund 
of  Baltimore,  Maryland,  has  concluded,  “All  the  evidence 
does  indicate  that  ESP  exists.”  Dr.  Sjolund  works  with  peo- 
ple suspected  of  having  ESP  talents  and  puts  them  through 
various  tests  in  specially  built  laboratories.  Scientific  exper- 
iments designed  to  test  for  the  existence  of  ESP  are  rare.  Dr. 
Sjolund  knows  of  only  one  other  like  it  in  the  United  States 
— in  Seattle.  Sjolund  does  ESP  work  only  one  day  a week. 
His  main  job  is  acting  director  of  research  at  Spring  Grove 
State  Hospital. 

* * * 

According  to  Evelyn  de  Wolfe,  Los  Angeles  Times 
staff  writer,  “The  phenomenon  of  ESP  remains  inconclu- 
sive, ephemeral  and  mystifying  but  for  the  first  time  in  the 
realm  of  science,  no  one  is  ashamed  to  say  they  believe 
there  is  such  a thing.”  The  writer  had  been  talking  to  Dr. 
Thelma  S.  Moss,  assistant  professor  of  medical  psychology 
at  UCLA  School  of  Medicine,  who  had  been  conducting 
experiments  in  parapsychology  for  several  years.  In  a report 
dated  June  12,  1969,  Wolfe  also  says,  “In  a weekend  sym- 
posium on  ESP  more  than  six  hundred  persons  in  the  audi- 
ence learned  that  science  is  dealing  seriously  with  the 
subject  of  haunted  houses,  clairvoyance,  telepathy,  and 
psychokinesis  and  is  attempting  to  harness  the  unconscious 
mind.” 

* * * 

It  is  not  surprising  that  some  more  liberally  inclined 
and  enlightened  scientists  are  coming  around  to  thinking 


32 


that  there  is  something  to  ESP  after  all.  Back  in  1957,  Life 
magazine  editorialized  on  "A  Crisis  in  Science”: 

New  enigmas  in  physics  revive  quests  in  meta- 
physics. From  the  present  chaos  of  science's  conceptual 
universe  two  facts  might  strike  the  layman  as  significant. 

One  is  that  the  old-fashioned  materialism  is  now  even 
more  old-fashioned.  Its  basic  assumption — that  the  only 
’reality’  is  that  which  occupies  space  and  has  a mass — is 
irrelevant  to  an  age  that  has  proved  that  matter  is  inter- 
changeable with  energy.  The  second  conclusion  is  that 
old-fashioned  metaphysics,  so  far  from  being  irrelevant 
to  an  age  of  science,  is  science’s  indispensable  complement 
for  a full  view  of  life. 

Physicists  acknowledge  as  much;  a current  Martin 
advertisement  says  that  their  rocket  men’s  shop-talk 
includes  ’the  physics  (and  metaphysics)  of  their  work.’ 
Metaphysical  speculation  is  becoming  fashionable  again. 

Set  free  of  materialism,  metaphysics  could  well  become 
man’s  chief  preoccupation  of  the  next  century  and  may 
even  yield  a world-wide  consensus  on  the  nature  of  life 
and  the  universe. 

* * * 

By  1971,  this  prophetic  view  of  Life  magazine  took 
on  new  dimensions  of  reality.  According  to  the  Los  Angeles 
Times  of  February  11,  1971,  Apollo  14  astronaut  Edgar  D. 
Mitchell  attempted  to  send  mental  messages  to  a Chicago 
engineer  whose  hobby  was  extrasensory  perception.  Using 
ESP  cards,  which  he  had  taken  aboard  with  him  to  transfer 
messages  to  Chicago  psychic  Olaf  Olsen,  Mitchell  managed 
to  prove  beyond  any  doubt  that  telepathy  works  even  from 
the  outer  reaches  of  space.  The  Mitchell-Olsen  experiment 
has  since  become  part  of  the  history  of  parapsychology. 

Not  only  did  it  add  significantly  to  the  knowledge  of  how 
telepathy  really  works,  it  made  a change  in  the  life  of  the 
astronaut,  Mitchell.  According  to  an  UPI  dispatch  dated 
September  27,  1971,  Mitchell  became  convinced  that  life 
existed  away  from  earth  and  more  than  likely  in  our  own 
galaxy.  But  he  doubted  that  physical  space  travel  held  all 
the  answers.  ‘‘If  the  phenomenon  of  astral  projection  has 
any  validity,  it  might  be  perfectly  valid  to  use  it  in  inter- 
galactic  travel”;  Mitchell  indicated  that  he  was  paying 
additional  attention  to  ESP  for  future  use.  Since  that  time, 
of  course,  Mr.  Mitchell  has  become  an  active  experimenter 
in  ESP. 

* * * 

A few  years  ago  I appeared  at  the  University  of 
Bridgeport  (Connecticut).  I was  lecturing  on  scientific  evi- 
dence of  the  existence  of  ghosts.  My  lecture  included  some 
slides  taken  under  test  conditions  and  attracted  some  1,200 
students  and  faculty  members.  As  a result  of  this  particular 
demonstration,  I met  Robert  Jeffries,  Professor  of  Mechan- 
ical Engineering  at  the  university  and  an  avid  parapsychol- 
ogist. During  the  years  of  our  friendship  Professor  Jeffries 
and  I have  tried  very  hard  to  set  up  an  independent  insti- 
tute of  parapsychology.  We  had  thought  that  Bob  Jeffries, 


who  had  been  at  one  time  president  of  his  own  data- 
processing  company,  would  be  particularly  acceptable  to 
the  business  community.  But  the  executives  he  saw  were 
not  the  least  bit  interested  in  giving  any  money  to  such  a 
project.  They  failed  to  see  the  practical  implications  of 
studying  ESP.  Perhaps  they  were  merely  not  in  tune  with 
the  trend,  even  among  the  business  executives. 

In  an  article  dated  October  23,  1969,  The  Wall  Street 
Journal  headline  was  "Strange  Doings.  Americans  Show 
Burst  of  Interest  in  Witches,  Other  Occult  Matters.”  The 
piece,  purporting  to  be  a survey  of  the  occult  scene  and 
written  by  Stephen  J.  Sansweet,  presents  the  usual  hodge- 
podge of  information  and  misinformation,  lumping  witches 
and  werewolves  together  with  parapsychologists  and 
researchers.  He  quotes  Mortimer  R.  Feinberg,  a psychology 
professor  at  City  University  of  New  York,  as  saying,  “The 
closer  we  get  to  a controlled,  totally  predictable  society,  the 
more  man  becomes  fearful  of  the  consequences.”  Sansweet 
then  goes  on  to  say  that  occult  supplies,  books,  and  even 
such  peripheral  things  as  jewelry  are  being  gobbled  up  by 
an  interested  public,  a sure  sign  that  the  occult  is  “in.” 
Although  the  “survey”  is  on  the  level  of  a Sunday  supple- 
ment piece  and  really  quite  worthless,  it  does  indicate  the 
seriousness  with  which  the  business  community  regards  the 
occult  field,  appearing,  as  it  did,  on  the  front  page  of  The 
Wall  Street  Journal. 

More  realistic  and  respectable  is  an  article  in  the 
magazine  Nation's  Business  of  April  1971  entitled  "Dollars 
May  Flow  from  the  Sixth  Sense.  Is  There  a Link  between 
Business  Success  and  Extrasensory  Perception?” 

We  think  the  role  of  precognition  deserves  special 
consideration  in  sales  forecasting.  Wittingly  or  unwit- 
tingly, it  is  probably  already  used  there.  Much  more 
research  needs  to  be  done  on  the  presence  and  use  of 
precognition  among  executives  but  the  evidence  we  have 
obtained  indicates  that  such  research  will  be  well  worth- 
while. 

As  far  back  as  1955  the  Anderson  Laboratories  of 
Brookline,  Massachusetts,  were  in  the  business  of  forecast- 
ing the  future.  Its  president,  Frank  Anderson,  stated, 
"Anderson  Laboratories  is  in  a position  to  furnish  weekly 
charts  showing  what,  in  all  probability,  the  stock  market 
will  do  in  each  coming  week.”  Anderson's  concept,  or,  as 
he  calls  it,  the  Anderson  Law,  involves  predictions  based 
upon  the  study  of  many  things,  from  the  moon  tides  to 
human  behavior  to  elements  of  parapsychology.  He  had 
done  this  type  of  work  for  at  least  twenty-five  years  prior 
to  setting  up  the  laboratories.  Most  of  his  predictions  are 
based  upon  calculated  trends  and  deal  in  finances  and  poli- 
tics. Anderson  claimed  that  his  accuracy  rate  was  86  per- 
cent accurate  with  airplane  accidents  because  they  come  in 
cycles,  92.6  percent  accurate  in  the  case  of  major  fires,  84 
percent  accurate  with  automobile  accidents,  and  that  his 

Ghosts  and  the  World  of  the  Living 

33 


evaluations  could  be  used  for  many  business  purposes, 
from  advertising  campaigns  to  executive  changes  to  new 
product  launchings  and  even  to  the  planning  of  entertain- 
ment. In  politics,  Anderson  proposed  to  help  chart,  ahead 
of  time,  the  possible  outcome  of  political  campaigns.  He 
even  dealt  with  hunting  and  fishing  forecasts,  and  since  the 
latter  two  occupations  are  particularly  dear  to  the  heart  of 
the  business  community,  it  would  appear  that  Anderson 
had  it  wrapped  up  in  one  neat  little  package. 

* * * 

Professor  R.  A.  McConnell,  Department  of  Bio- 
physics and  Microbiology,  University  of  Pittsburgh,  Penn- 
sylvania, wrote  in  an  article  published  by  the  American 
Psychologist  in  May  1968  that  in  discussing  ESP  before  psy- 
chology students,  it  was  not  unusual  to  speak  of  the 
credulity  of  the  public.  He  felt  it  more  necessary,  however, 
to  examine  the  credibility  of  scientists,  including  both  those 
for  ESP  and  those  against  it.  Referring  to  an  article  on  ESP 
by  the  British  researcher  G.  R.  Price,  published  by  Science 
in  1955,  Professor  McConnell  points  to  Price’s  contention 
that  proof  of  ESP  is  conclusive  only  if  one  is  to  accept  the 
good  faith  and  sanity  of  the  experimenters,  but  that  ESP 
can  easily  be  explained  away  if  one  assumes  that  the  exper- 
imenters, working  in  collaboration  with  their  witnesses, 
have  intentionally  faked  the  results.  McConnell  goes  on  to 
point  out  that  this  unsubstantiated  suggestion  of  fraud  by 
Price,  a chemist  by  profession,  was  being  published  on  the 
first  page  of  the  most  influential  scientific  journal  in 
America. 

A lot  of  time  has  passed  since  1955:  the  American 
Association  for  the  Advancement  of  Science  has  recently 
voted  the  Parapsychology  Association  a member.  The  lat- 
ter, one  of  several  bodies  of  scientific  investigators  in  the 
field  of  parapsychology,  had  sought  entrance  into  the  asso- 
ciation for  many  years  but  had  been  barred  by  the  alleged 
prejudices  of  those  in  control.  The  Parapsychology  Associ- 
ation itself,  due  to  a fine  irony,  had  also  barred  some  rep- 
utable researchers  from  membership  in  its  own  ranks  for 
the  very  same  reasons.  But  the  dam  burst,  and  parapsy- 
chology became  an  accepted  subject  within  the  American 
Association  for  the  Advancement  of  Science.  The 
researchers  were  also  invited  to  join.  My  own  New  York 
Committee  for  the  Investigation  of  Paranormal  Occur- 
rences, founded  in  1962  under  the  sponsorship  of  Eileen 
Garrett,  president  of  the  Parapsychology  Foundation,  Inc., 
is  also  a member  of  the  American  Association  for  the 
Advancement  of  Science. 

In  his  article,  Professor  McConnell  points  out  the  fal- 
libility of  certain  textbooks  considered  to  be  bulwarks  of 
scientific  knowledge.  He  reminds  his  audience  that  until 
the  year  1800  the  highest  scientific  authorities  thought  that 
there  were  no  such  things  as  meteorites.  Then  the  leaders 

CHAPTER  THREE:  Ghosts  and  the 
World  of  the  Living 


of  science  found  out  that  meteorites  came  from  outer  space, 
and  the  textbooks  were  rewritten  accordingly.  What  dis- 
turbs Professor  McConnell  is  that  the  revised  textbooks  did 
not  mention  that  there  had  been  an  argument  about  the 
matter.  He  wonders  how  many  arguments  are  still  going  on 
in  science  and  how  many  serious  mistakes  are  in  the  text- 
books we  use  for  study.  In  his  opinion,  we  ought  to  believe 
only  one  half  of  the  ideas  expressed  in  the  works  on  biolog- 
ical sciences,  although  he  is  not  sure  which  half.  In  his 
view,  ESP  belongs  in  psychology,  one  of  the  biological  sci- 
ences. He  feels  that  when  it  comes  to  ESP,  so-called  author- 
ities are  in  error.  McConnell  points  out  that  most 
psychology  textbooks  omit  the  subject  entirely  as  unworthy 
of  serious  consideration.  But  in  his  opinion,  the  books  are 
wrong,  for  ESP  is  a real  psychological  phenomenon.  He  also 
shows  that  the  majority  of  those  doing  serious  research  in 
ESP  are  not  psychologists,  and  deduces  from  this  and  the 
usual  textbook  treatment  of  the  subject  as  well  as  from  his 
own  sources  that  psychologists  are  simply  not  interested 
in  ESP. 

* * * 

L.  C.  Kling,  M.D.,  is  a psychiatrist  living  in  Stras- 
bourg, France.  He  writes  in  German  and  has  published 
occasional  papers  dealing  with  his  profession.  Most  psychi- 
atrists and  psychoanalysts  who  base  their  work  upon  the 
findings  of  Sigmund  Freud,  balk  at  the  idea  that  Dr.  Freud 
had  any  interest  in  psychic  phenomena  or  ESP.  But  the  fact 
is — and  Dr.  Kling  points  this  out  in  an  article  published  in 
1966 — that  Freud  had  many  encounters  with  paranormal 
phenomena.  When  he  was  sixty-five  years  old  he  wrote  to 
American  researcher  Herewood  Carrington:  "If  I had  to 
start  my  life  over  again  I would  rather  be  a parapsycholo- 
gist than  a psychoanalyst.”  And  toward  the  end  of  his  life 
he  confessed  to  his  biographer  E.  Jones  that  he  would  not 
hesitate  to  bring  upon  himself  the  hostility  of  the  profes- 
sional world  in  order  to  champion  an  unpopular  point  of 
view.  What  made  him  say  this  was  a particularly  convinc- 
ing case  of  telepathy  that  he  had  come  across. 

* * * 

In  June  of  1966  the  German  physicist  Dr.  Werner 
Schiebeler  gave  a lecture  concerning  his  findings  on  the 
subject  of  physical  research  methods  applicable  to  parapsy- 
chology. The  occasion  was  the  conference  on  parapsychol- 
ogy held  at  the  city  of  Constance  in  Germany.  Dr. 

Schiebeler,  who  is  as  well  versed  in  atomic  physics  as  he  is 
in  parapsychology,  suggested  that  memory  banks  from 
deceased  entities  could  be  established  independently  of 
physical  brain  matter.  “If  during  seances  entities,  phan- 
toms, or  spirits  of  the  deceased  appear  that  have  been  iden- 
tified beyond  a shadow  of  a doubt  to  be  the  people  they 
pretend  to  be,  they  must  be  regarded  as  something  more 
than  images  of  the  dead.  Otherwise  we  would  have  to  con- 
sider people  in  the  physical  life  whom  we  have  not  seen  for 
some  time  and  encounter  again  today  as  merely  copies  of  a 


34 


former  existence.”  Dr.  Schiebeler  goes  on  to  say  that  in  his 
opinion  parapsychology  has  furnished  definite  proof  for  the 
continuance  of  life  beyond  physical  death. 

This  detailed  and  very  important  paper  was  presented 
in  written  form  to  the  eminent  German  parapsychologist 
Dr.  Hans  Bender,  head  of  the  Institute  of  Borderline  Sci- 
ences at  the  University  of  Freiburg,  Germany.  Since  it  con- 
tained strong  evidence  of  a survivalist  nature,  and  since  Dr. 
Bender  has  declared  himself  categorically  opposed  to  the 
concept  of  personal  survival  after  death,  the  paper  remains 
unanswered,  and  Dr.  Schiebeler  was  unable  to  get  any 
response  from  the  institute. 

* * * 

Despite  the  fact  that  several  leading  universities  are 
doing  around-the-clock  research  on  ESP,  there  are  still  those 
who  wish  it  weren’t  so.  Dr.  Walter  Alvarez  writes  in  the 
Los  Angeles  Times  of  January  23,  1 972,  "In  a recent  issue  of 
the  medical  journal  M.D.,  there  was  an  interesting  article 
on  a subject  that  interests  many  physicians  and  patients. 

Do  mediums  really  make  contact  with  a dead  person  at  a 
seance?”  He  then  goes  on  to  quote  an  accusation  of  fraudu- 
lence  against  the  famous  Fox  sisters,  who  first  brought 
spirit  rappings  to  public  attention  in  1848.  “Curiously,  a 
number  of  very  able  persons  have  accepted  the  reality  of 
spiritualism  and  some  have  been  very  much  interested  in 
what  goes  on  in  seances,”  Dr.  Alvarez  reports.  Carefully, 
he  points  out  the  few  and  better -known  cases  of  alleged 
fraud  among  world-famous  mediums,  such  as  Eusepia  Pal- 
ladino,  omitting  the  fact  that  the  Italian  medium  had  been 
highly  authentic  to  the  very  end  and  that  fakery  had  never 
been  conclusively  proven  in  her  case.  There  isn’t  a single 
word  about  Professor  Rhine  or  any  research  in  the  field  of 
parapsychology  in  this  article. 

Perhaps  not  on  the  same  level,  but  certainly  with 
even  greater  popular  appeal,  is  a “Dear  Abby”  reply 
printed  by  the  same  Los  Angeles  Times  in  November  5, 
1969,  concerning  an  inquiry  from  a reader  on  how  to  find  a 
reputable  medium  to  help  her  get  in  touch  with  her  dead 
husband.  To  this  “Dear  Abby"  replied,  “Many  have 
claimed  they  can  communicate  with  the  dead,  but  so  far  no 
one  has  been  able  to  prove  it.” 

* * * 

Perhaps  one  can  forgive  such  uninformed  people  for 
their  negative  attitude  toward  psychic  phenomena  if  one 
looks  at  some  of  the  less  desirable  practices  that  have  been 
multiplying  in  the  field  lately.  Take,  for  instance,  the  pub- 
lisher of  Penthouse  magazine,  an  English  competitor  to  our 
own  Playboy.  A prize  of  £25,000  was  to  be  paid  to  anyone 
producing  paranormal  phenomena  under  test  conditions.  A 
panel  consisting  of  Sir  George  Joy,  Society  for  Psychical 
Research,  Professor  H.  H.  Price,  Canon  John  Pearce  - 
Higgins,  and  leading  psychical  researcher  Mrs.  Kathleen 
Goldney  resigned  in  protest  when  they  took  a good  look  at 


the  pages  of  the  magazine  and  discovered  that  it  was  more 
concerned  with  bodies  than  with  spirits. 

The  Psychic  Register  International,  of  Phoenix,  Ari- 
zona, proclaims  its  willingness  to  list  everyone  in  the  field 
so  that  they  may  present  to  the  world  a Who’s  Who  in  the 
Psychic  World.  A parapsychology  guidance  institute  in  St. 
Petersburg,  Florida,  advised  me  that  it  is  preparing  a bibli- 
ography of  technical  books  in  the  field  of  parapsychology. 
The  Institute  of  Psychic  Studies  of  Parkersburg,  West 
Virginia,  claimed  that  “for  the  first  time  in  the  United 
States  a college  of  psychic  studies  entirely  dedicated  to 
parapsychology  offering  a two-year  course  leading  to  a doc- 
torate in  psychic  sciences  is  being  opened  and  will  be  cen- 
trally located  in  West  Virginia.”  The  list  of  courses  of 
study  sounded  very  impressive  and  included  three  credits 
for  the  mind  (study  of  the  brain),  background  of  parapsy- 
chology (three  credits),  and  such  fascinating  things  as 
magic  in  speech  (three  credits),  explaining  superstitions 
attributed  to  magic;  and  the  secrets  of  prestidigitation.  The 
list  of  courses  was  heavily  studded  with  grammatical  errors 
and  misspellings.  Psychic  Dimensions  Incorporated  of  New 
York  City,  according  to  an  article  in  The  New  York  Times, 
no  less,  on  December  4,  1970,  “has  got  it  all  together,"  the 
“all”  meaning  individual  astrologists,  graphologists,  occa- 
sional palmists,  psychometrists,  and  those  astute  in  the 
reading  of  tarot  cards.  According  to  Lisa  Hammel,  writer 
of  the  article,  the  founder  of  the  booking  a*gency,  William  J. 
Danielle,  has  “about  150  metaphysical  personalities 
under  his  wing  and  is  ready  to  book  for  a variety  of  occa- 
sions.” The  master  of  this  enterprise  explains,  “I  had  to 
create  an  entertainment  situation  because  people  will  not 
listen  to  facts.”  Mr.  Danielle  originally  started  with  a 
memorable  event  called  “Breakfast  with  a Witch”  starring 
none  other  than  Witch  Hazel,  a pretty  young  waitress  from 
New  Jersey  who  has  established  her  claim  to  witchcraft  on 
various  public  occasions. 

* * * 

“Six  leading  authorities  on  mental  telepathy,  psychic 
experiences  and  metaphysics  will  conduct  a panel  discus- 
sion on  extrasensory  perception,”  said  the  New  York  Daily 
News  on  January  24,  1971 . The  meeting  was  being  held 
under  the  auspices  of  the  Society  for  the  Study  of  Parapsy- 
chology and  Metaphysics.  As  if  that  name  were  not 
impressive  enough,  there  is  even  a subdivision  entitled  the 
National  Committee  for  the  Study  of  Metaphysical  Sci- 
ences. It  turned  out  that  the  experts  were  indeed  authorities 
in  their  respective  fields.  They  included  Dr.  Gertrude 
Schmeidler  of  City  College,  New  York,  and  well-known 
psychic  Ron  Warmoth.  A colleague  of  mine,  Raymond 
Van  Over  of  Hofstra  University,  was  also  aboard. 

Although  I heard  nothing  further  of  the  Society  for  the 
Study  of  Parapsychology  and  Metaphysics,  it  seemed  like  a 
reputable  organization,  or  rather  attempt  at  an  organization. 


Ghosts  and  the  World  of  the  Living 

35 


Until  then  about  the  only  reputable  organization  known  to 
most  individuals  interested  in  the  study  of  ESP  was,  and  is, 
of  course,  the  American  Society  for  Psychical  Research 
located  at  5 West  Seventy-third  Street  in  New  York  City. 
But  the  society,  originally  founded  by  Dr.  J.  Hislop,  has 
become  rather  conservative.  It  rarely  publishes  any  contro- 
versial findings  any  more.  Its  magazine  is  extremely  techni- 
cal and  likely  to  discourage  the  beginning  student. 
Fortunately,  however,  it  also  publishes  the  ASPR  Newsletter, 
which  is  somewhat  more  democratic  and  popularly  styled. 
The  society  still  ignores  parapsychologists  who  do  not  con- 
form to  their  standards,  especially  people  like  myself,  who 
frequently  appear  on  television  and  make  definite  state- 
ments on  psychic  matters  that  the  society  would  rather 
leave  in  balance.  Many  of  the  legacies  that  help  support  the 
American  Society  for  Psychical  Research  were  given  in  the 
hope  that  the  society  might  establish  some  definite  proof 
for  survival  of  human  personality  after  death  and  for 
answers  to  other  important  scientific  questions.  If 
researchers  such  as  I proclaim  such  matters  to  be  already 
proven,  there  would  seem  to  be  little  left  for  the  society  to 
prove  in  the  future.  But  individual  leaders  of  the  society 
are  more  outspoken  in  their  views.  Dr.  Gardner  Murphy, 
long-time  president  of  the  society  and  formerly  connected 
with  the  Menninger  Foundation,  observed,  “If  there  was 
one  tenth  of  the  evidence  in  any  other  field  of  science  than 
there  is  in  parapsychology,  it  would  be  accepted  beyond 
question.”  Dr.  Lawrence  L.  Le  Shan,  Ph.D.,  writer  and 
investigator,  says: 

Parapsychology  is  far  more  than  it  appears  to  be  on 
first  glance.  In  the  most  profound  sense  it  is  the  study 
of  the  basic  nature  of  man — There  is  more  to  man, 
more  to  him  and  his  relationship  with  the  cosmos  than 
we  have  accepted.  Further,  this  ’more’  is  of  a different 
kind  and  order  from  the  parts  we  know  about.  We  have 
the  data  and  they  are  strong  and  clear  but  they  could 
not  exist  if  man  were  only  what  we  have  believed  him  to 
be.  If  he  were  only  flesh  and  bone,  if  he  worked  on  the 
same  type  of  principles  as  a machine,  if  he  were  really  as 
separated  from  other  men  as  we  have  thought,  it  would 
be  impossible  for  him  to  do  the  things  we  know  he 
sometimes  does.  The  ’impossible  facts’  of  ESP  tell  us  of 
a part  of  man  long  hidden  in  the  mists  of  legend,  art, 
dream,  myth  and  mysticism,  which  our  explorers  of 
reality  in  the  last  ninety  years  have  demonstrated  to  be 
scientifically  valid,  to  be  real. 

* * * 

While  the  bickering  between  those  accepting  the  real- 
ity of  ESP  phenomena  and  those  categorically  rejecting  it 
was  still  occurring  in  the  United  States,  the  Russians  came 
up  with  a startling  coup:  They  went  into  the  field  whole- 
sale. At  this  time  there  are  at  least  eight  major  universities  in 
Eastern  Europe  with  full-time,  full-staffed  research  centers 

CHAPTER  THREE:  Ghosts  and  the 
World  of  the  Living 


in  parapsychology.  What  is  more,  there  are  no  restrictions 
placed  upon  those  working  in  this  field,  and  they  are 
free  to  publish  anything  they  like.  This  came  as  rather  a 
shock  to  the  American  scientific  establishment.  In  her 
review  of  the  amazing  book  by  Sheila  Ostrander  and  Lynn 
Schroeder,  Psychic  Discoveries  Behind  the  Iron  Curtain,  Dr. 
Thelma  Moss  said,  “If  the  validity  of  their  statements  is 
proved,  then  the  American  scientist  is  faced  with  the  mag- 
nificent irony  that  in  1970  Soviet  materialistic  science  has 
pulled  off  a coup  in  the  field  of  occult  phenomena  equal  to 
that  of  Sputnik  rising  into  space  in  1957.” 

It  would  appear  that  the  Russians  are  years  ahead  of 
us  in  applying  techniques  of  ESP  to  practical  use.  Allegedly, 
they  have  learned  to  use  hypnosis  at  a distance,  they  have 
shown  us  photographs  of  experiments  in  psychokinesis,  the 
moving  of  objects  by  mental  powers  alone,  and  even  in 
Kirilian  photography,  which  shows  the  life-force  fields 
around  living  things.  Nat  Freedland,  reviewing  the  book 
for  the  Los  Angeles  Times,  said: 

Scientists  in  Eastern  Europe  have  been  succeeding 
with  astonishingly  far-reaching  parapsychology  experi- 
ments for  years.  The  scope  of  what  countries  like  Rus- 
sia, Czechoslovakia,  and  even  little  Bulgaria  have 
accomplished  in  controlled  scientific  psychokinesis  (PSI) 
experiments  makes  the  western  brand  of  ESP  look 
namby-pamby  indeed.  Instead  of  piddling  around  end- 
lessly with  decks  of  cards  and  dice  like  Dr.  J.  B.  Rhine 
of  Duke  University,  Soviet  scientists  put  one  telepathi- 
cally  talented  experimenter  in  Moscow  and  another  in 
Siberia  twelve  hundred  miles  away.” 

Shortly  afterward,  the  newspapers  were  filled  with 
articles  dealing  with  the  Russians  and  their  telepaths  or 
experimenters.  Word  had  it  that  in  Russia  there  was  a 
woman  who  was  possessed  of  bioplasmic  energy  and  who 
could  move  objects  by  mental  concentration.  This  woman, 
Nina  Kulagina,  was  photographed  doing  just  that.  William 
Rice,  science  writer  for  the  Daily  News,  asked  his  readers, 
“Do  you  have  ESP?  It’s  hard  to  prove,  but  hard  to  deny.” 
The  piece  itself  is  the  usual  hodgepodge  of  information  and 
conjecture,  but  it  shows  how  much  the  interest  in  ESP  had 
grown  in  the  United  States.  Of  course,  in  going  behind  the 
Iron  Curtain  to  explore  the  realms  of  parapsychology, 

Sheila  Ostrander  and  Lynn  Schroeder  did  not  exactly  tread 
on  virgin  territory.  Those  active  in  the  field  of  parapsychol- 
ogy in  the  United  States  had  long  been  familiar  with  the 
work  of  Professor  L.  Vasiliev.  The  Russian  scientist’s 
books  are  standard  fare  in  this  field.  Dr.  I.  M.  Kogan, 
chairman  of  the  Investigation  Commission  of  Russian  Sci- 
entists dealing  with  ESP,  is  quoted  as  saying  that  he 
believes  “many  people  have  the  ability  to  receive  and  trans- 
mit telepathic  information,  but  the  faculty  is  undeveloped.” 

* * * 

And  what  was  being  done  on  the  American  side  dur- 
ing the  time  the  Russians  were  developing  their  parapsy- 


36 


chology  laboratories  and  their  teams  of  observers?  Mae 
West  gave  a magnificent  party  at  her  palatial  estate  in  Hol- 
lywood during  which  her  favorite  psychic,  “Dr.”  Richard 
Ireland,  the  psychic  from  Phoenix,  performed  what  the 
guests  referred  to  as  amazing  feats.  Make  no  mistake  about 
it,  Mae  West  is  serious  about  her  interest  in  parapsycholo- 
gy. She  even  lectured  on  the  subject  some  time  ago  at  a 
university.  But  predicting  the  future  for  invited  guests  and 
charming  them  at  the  same  time  is  a far  cry  from  setting 
up  a sober  institute  for  parapsychology  where  the  subject 
can  be  dealt  with  objectively  and  around  the  clock. 

On  a more  practical  level,  controversial  Dutchman 
Peter  Hurkos,  who  fell  off  a ladder  and  discovered  his  tele- 
phatic  abilities  some  years  back,  was  called  in  to  help  the 
police  to  find  clues  when  the  Tate  murder  was  in  the  head- 
lines. Hurkos  did  describe  one  of  the  raiders  as  bearded 
and  felt  that  there  were  overtones  of  witchcraft  in  the 
assault.  About  that  time,  also,  Bishop  James  Pike  told  the 
world  in  headline-making  news  conferences  that  he  had 
spoken  to  his  dead  son  through  various  mediums.  “There 
is  enough  scientific  evidence  to  give  plausible  affirmation 
that  the  human  personality  survives  the  grave.  It  is  the 
most  plausible  explanation  of  the  phenomena  that 
occurred,”  Bishop  Pike  is  quoted. 

Over  in  Britain,  Rosemary  Brown  was  getting  mes- 
sages from  dead  composers,  including  such  kingpins  as 
Beethoven,  Chopin,  Schubert,  and  Debussy.  Her  sym- 
phonies, attributed  to  her  ESP  capabilities,  have  even  been 
recorded.  When  I first  heard  about  the  amazing  Miss 
Brown,  I was  inclined  to  dismiss  the  matter  unless  some 
private,  as  yet  unpublished,  information  about  the  personal 
lives  of  the  dead  composers  was  also  brought  out  by  the 
medium.  Apparently,  this  is  what  happened  in  the  course 
of  time  and  continued  investigations.  I have  never  met 
Miss  Brown,  but  one  of  the  investigators  sent  to  Britain  to 
look  into  the  case  was  a man  whom  I knew  well,  Stewart 
Robb,  who  had  the  advantage  of  being  both  a parapsychol- 
ogist and  a music  expert.  It  is  his  opinion  that  the  Rose- 
mary Brown  phenomenon  is  indeed  genuine,  but  Miss 
Brown  is  by  no  means  the  only  musical  medium.  Accord- 
ing to  the  National  Enquirer,  British  medium  Leslie  Flint, 
together  with  two  friends,  Sydney  Woods  and  Mrs.  Betty 
Greene,  claimed  to  have  captured  on  tape  the  voices  of 
more  than  two  hundred  famous  personalities,  including 
Frederic  Chopin  and  Oscar  Wilde. 

A RIFT  EMERGES 

Gradually,  however,  the  cleavage  between  an  occult,  or 
mystical,  emotionally  tinged  form  of  inquiry  into  psychic 
phenomena,  and  the  purely  scientific,  clinically  oriented 
way  becomes  more  apparent.  That  is  not  to  say  that  both 
methods  will  not  eventually  merge  into  one  single  quest  for 
truth. 

Only  by  using  all  avenues  of  approach  to  a problem 
can  we  truly  accomplish  its  solution.  However,  it  seems  to 


me  that  at  a time  when  so  many  people  are  becoming 
acquainted  with  the  occult  and  parapsychology  in  general, 
that  it  is  very  necessary  that  one  make  a clear  distinction 
between  a tea-room  reader  and  a professor  of  parapsychol- 
ogy, between  a person  who  has  studied  psychical  phenome- 
na for  twenty -five  years  and  has  all  the  necessary 
academic  credits  and  a Johnny-come-lately  who  has  crept 
out  of  the  woodwork  of  opportunism  to  start  his  own 
“research”  center  or  society. 

Those  who  sincerely  seek  information  in  this  field 
should  question  the  credentials  of  those  who  give  answers; 
well-known  names  are  always  preferable  to  names  one  has 
never  heard  before.  Researchers  with  academic  credentials 
or  affiliations  are  more  likely  to  be  trusted  than  those  who 
offer  merely  paper  doctorates  fresh  from  the  printing  press. 
Lastly,  psychic  readers  purporting  to  be  great  prophets 
must  be  examined  at  face  value — on  the  basis  of  their 
accomplishments  in  each  individual  case,  not  upon  their 
self-proclaimed  reputation.  With  all  that  in  mind  and  with 
due  caution,  it  is  still  heartwarming  to  find  so  many  sincere 
and  serious  people  dedicating  themselves  more  and  more  to 
the  field  parapsychology  and  making  scientific  inquiry  into 
what  seems  to  me  one  of  the  most  fascinating  areas  of 
human  endeavor.  Ever  since  the  late  Sir  Oliver  Lodge  pro- 
claimed, “Psychic  research  is  the  most  important  field  in 
the  world  today,  by  far  the  most  important,”  I have  felt 
quite  the  same  way. 

PSYCHIC  PHOTOGRAPHY 

At  Washington  University,  St.  Louis,  Missouri,  a dedi- 
cated group  of  researchers  with  no  funds  to  speak  of  has 
been  trying  to  delve  into  the  mystery  of  psychic  photogra- 
phy. Following  in  the  footsteps  of  Dr.  Jules  Eisenbud  of 
the  University  of  Colorado,  and  my  own  work  Psychic  Pho- 
tography— Threshold  of  a New  Science?,  this  group,  under 
the  aegis  of  the  Department  of  Physics  at  the  university,  is 
attempting  to  "produce  psychic  photographs  with  some 
regularity  under  many  kinds  of  situations.”  The  group  feels 
that  since  Ted  Serios  discovered  his  ability  in  this  field  by 
accident,  others  might  have  similar  abilities.  “Only  when 
we  have  found  a good  subject  can  the  real  work  of  investi- 
gating the  nature  of  psychic  photography  begin,”  they 
explain.  The  fact  that  people  associated  with  a department 
of  physics  at  a major  American  university  even  speak  of 
investigating  psychic  photography  scientifically  is  so  much 
of  a novelty,  considering  the  slurs  heaped  upon  this  subject 
for  so  many  years  by  the  majority  of  establishment  scien- 
tists, that  one  can  only  hope  that  a new  age  of  unbiased 
science  is  indeed  dawning  upon  us. 


Ghosts  and  the  World  of  the  Living 

37 


MIND  CONTROL  & THE  ALPHA  STATE 


Stanley  Korn  of  Maryland  has  a degree  in  physics  and  has 
done  graduate  work  in  mathematics,  statistics,  and  psychol- 
ogy; he  works  in  the  Navy  as  an  operations  research  ana- 
lyst. Through  newspaper  advertisements  he  discovered  the 
Silva  Mind  Control  Course  and  took  it,  becoming 
acquainted  with  Silva’s  approach,  including  the  awareness 
of  the  alpha  state  of  brain- wave  activity,  which  is  associ- 
ated with  increased  problem-solving  ability  and,  of  course, 
ESP.  "What  induced  me  to  take  the  course  was  the  rather 
astonishing  claim  made  by  the  lecturer  that  everyone  taking 
the  course  would  be  able  to  function  psychically  to  his  own 
satisfaction  or  get  his  money  back.  This  I had  to  see,”  Mr. 
Korn  explained.  Describing  the  Silva  Method,  which  incor- 
porates some  of  the  elements  of  diagnosis  developed  by  the 
late  Edgar  Cayce  but  combines  it  with  newer  techniques 
and  what,  for  want  of  a better  term,  we  call  traveling  clair- 
voyance, Mr.  Korn  learned  that  psychic  activities  are  not 
necessarily  limited  to  diagnosing  health  cases,  but  can  also 
be  employed  in  psychometry,  the  location  of  missing 
objects  and  persons,  even  the  location  of  malfunctions  in 
automobiles.  "After  seeing  convincing  evidence  for  the 
existence  of  psi,  and  experiencing  the  phenomenon  myself, 

I naturally  wanted  to  know  the  underlying  principles  gov- 
erning its  operation.  To  date,  I have  been  unable  to 
account  for  the  psychic  transmission  of  information  by  any 
of  the  known  forms  of  energy,  such  as  radio  waves.  The 
phenomena  can  be  demonstrated  at  will,  making  controlled 
experiments  feasible.” 

THE  APPARATUS 

But  the  mind-control  approach  is  by  no  means  the  only 
new  thing  in  the  search  for  awareness  and  full  use  of  ESP 
powers  in  man.  People  working  in  the  field  of  physics  are 
used  to  apparatus,  to  test  equipment,  to  physical  tools. 

Some  of  these  people  have  become  interested  in  the  mar- 
ginal areas  of  parapsychology  and  ESP  research,  and  hope  to 
contribute  some  new  mechanical  gadget  to  the  field. 
According  to  the  magazine  Purchasing  Week,  new  devices 
utilizing  infrared  light  to  pinpoint  the  location  of  an  other- 
wise unseen  intruder  by  the  heat  radiating  from  his  body 
have  been  developed.  On  August  17,  1970,  Time  magazine, 
in  its  science  section  headlines,  “Thermography:  Coloring 
with  Heat.”  The  magazine  explained  that 

[I]nfrared  detectors  are  providing  stunning  images  that 
were  once  totally  invisible  to  the  naked  eye.  The  new 
medium  is  called  color  thermography,  the  technique  of 
translating  heat  rays  into  color.  Unlike  ordinary  color 
photographs,  which  depend  on  reflected  visible  light, 
thermograms  or  heat  pictures  respond  only  to  the  tem- 
perature of  the  subject.  Thus  the  thermographic  camera 

CHAPTER  THREE:  Ghosts  and  the 
World  of  the  Living 


can  work  with  equal  facility  in  the  dark  or  light.  The 
camera’s  extraordinary  capability  is  built  around  a char- 
acteristic of  all  objects,  living  or  inanimate.  Because  their 
atoms  are  constantly  in  motion,  they  give  off  some 
degree  of  heat  or  infrared  radiation.  If  the  temperature 
rises  high  enough,  the  radiation  may  become  visible  to 
the  human  eye,  as  in  the  red  glow  of  a blast  furnace. 
Ordinarily,  the  heat  emissions  remain  locked  in  the 
invisible  range  of  infrared  light. 

It  is  clear  that  such  equipment  can  be  of  great  help  in 
examining  so-called  haunted  houses,  psychically  active 
areas,  or  psychometric  objects;  in  other  words,  it  can  be 
called  upon  to  step  in  where  the  naked  eye  cannot  help,  or 
where  ordinary  photography  discloses  nothing  unusual. 
The  magazine  Electronics  World  of  April  1970,  in  an  article 
by  L.  George  Lawrence  entitled  “Electronics  and  Parapsy- 
chology,” says, 

One  of  the  most  intriguing  things  to  emerge  in  that  area 
is  the  now  famous  Backster  Effect.  Since  living  plants 
seem  to  react  bioelectrically  to  thought  images  directed 
to  their  over-all  well-being,  New  Jersey  cytologist  Dr. 

H.  Miller  thinks  that  the  phenomenon  is  based  upon  a 
type  of  cellular  consciousness.  These  and  related  considera- 
tions lead  to  the  idea  that  psi  is  but  a part  of  a so-called 
paranormal  matrix — a unique  communications  grid 
that  binds  all  life  together.  Its  phenomena  apparently 
work  on  a multi-input  basis  which  operates  beyond  the 
known  physical  laws. 

Lanston  Monotype  Company  of  Philadelphia,  Penn- 
sylvania, manufactures  photomechanical  apparatus  and  has 
done  some  work  in  the  ESP  field.  The  company  attempted 
to  develop  testing  equipment  of  use  to  parapsychologists. 
Superior  Vending  Company  of  Brockton,  Massachusetts, 
through  its  design  engineer,  R.  K.  Golka,  offered  me  a look 
into  the  matter  of  a newly  developed  image  intensifier  tube 
developed  for  possible  use  in  a portable  television  camera 
capable  of  picking  up  the  fine  imprints  left  behind  in  the 
atmosphere  of  haunted  areas.  “The  basic  function  of  this 
tube  is  to  intensify  and  pick  up  weak  images  picked  up  by 
the  television  camera.  These  are  images  that  would  other- 
wise not  be  seen  or  that  would  go  unnoticed,”  the  engineer 
explained.  Two  years  later,  Mr.  Golka,  who  had  by  then 
set  up  his  own  company  of  electronic  consultants,  sug- 
gested experiments  with  spontaneous  ionization.  “If  energy 
put  into  the  atmosphere  could  be  coupled  properly  with  the 
surrounding  medium,  air,  then  huge  amounts  of  ionization 
could  result.  If  there  were  a combination  of  frequency  and 
wave  length  that  would  remove  many  of  the  electron  shells 
of  the  common  elements  of  our  atmosphere,  that  too  would 
be  of  great  scientific  value.  Of  course,  the  electrons  would 
fall  back  at  random  so  there  would  be  shells  producing 
white  light  or  fluorescence.  This  may  be  similar  to  the 
flashes  of  light  seen  by  people  in  a so-called  haunted  house. 
In  any  event,  if  this  could  be  done  by  the  output  of  very 
small  energies  such  as  those  coming  from  the  human  brain 


38 


of  microvolt  and  microamp  range,  it  would  be  quite  signif- 
icant.” Mr.  Golka  responded  to  my  suggestion  that  ioniza- 
tion of  the  air  accompanied  many  of  the  psychic 
phenomena  where  visual  manifestations  had  been  observed. 
I have  held  that  a change  occurs  in  the  atmosphere  when 
psychic  energies  are  present,  and  that  the  change  includes 
ionization  of  the  surrounding  air  or  ether.  “Some  of  the 
things  you  have  mentioned  over  the  years  seem  to  fit  into 
this  puzzle.  I don't  know  if  science  has  all  the  pieces  yet, 
but  I feel  we  have  a good  handful  to  work  with,”  Mr. 

Golka  concluded  in  his  suggestions  to  me.  Since  that  time 
some  progress  has  been  made  in  the  exploration  of  percep- 
tion by  plants,  and  the  influence  of  human  emotions  on  the 
growth  of  plants.  Those  seeking  scientific  data  on  these 
experiments  may  wish  to  examine  Cleve  Backster’s  report 
"Evidence  of  a Primary  Perception  in  Plant  Life”  in  the 
International  Journal  of  Parapsychology,  Volume  X,  1968. 
Backster  maintains  a research  foundation  at  165  West 
Forty -sixth  Street  in  New  York  City. 

* * * 

Dr.  Harry  E.  Stockman  is  head  of  Sercolab  in  Arling- 
ton, Massachusetts,  specializing  in  apparatus  in  the  fields 
of  physics,  electronics,  and  the  medical  profession.  The 
company  issues  regular  catalogues  of  their  various  devices, 
which  range  from  simple  classroom  equipment  to  highly 
sophisticated  research  apparatus.  The  company,  located  at 
P.O.  Box  78,  Arlington,  Massachusetts,  has  been  in  busi- 
ness for  over  twenty  years.  One  prospectus  of  their  labora- 
tory states: 

In  the  case  of  mind-over-matter  parapsychology  psy- 
chokinetic  apparatus,  our  guarantee  applies  only  in  that 
the  apparatus  will  operate  as  stated  in  the  hands  of  an 
accomplished  sensitive.  Sercolab  would  not  gamble  its 
scientific  reputation  for  the  good  reason  that  mind-over- 
matter  is  a proven  scientific  fact.  It  is  so  today  thanks  to 
the  amazing  breakthrough  by  Georgia  State  University; 
this  breakthrough  does  not  merely  consist  of  the  stun- 
ning performance  of  some  students  to  be  able  to  move  a 
magnetic  needle  at  a distance.  The  breakthrough  is  far 
greater  than  that.  It  consists  of  Georgia  State  University 
having  devised  a systematic  teaching  technique,  enabling 
some  students  in  the  class  to  operate  a magnetic  needle 
by  psychokinesis  force. 

Obviously,  science  and  ESP  are  merely  casual 
acquaintances  at  the  present  time.  Many  members  of  the 
family  are  still  looking  askance  at  this  new  member  of  the 
community.  They  wish  it  would  simply  go  away  and  not 
bother  them.  But  parapsychology,  the  study  of  ESP,  is  here 
to  stay.  ESP  research  may  be  contrary  to  many  established 
scientific  laws  and  its  methodology  differs  greatly  from 
established  practices.  But  it  is  a valid  force;  it  exists  in 
every  sense  of  the  term;  and  it  must  be  studied  fully  in 
order  to  make  science  an  honest  field  in  the  coming  age. 
Anything  less  will  lead  scientific  inquiry  back  to  medieval 
thinking,  back  into  the  narrow  channels  of  prejudice  and 


severely  limited  fields  of  study.  In  the  future,  only  a thor- 
ough re-examination  of  the  scientific  position  on  ESP  in 
general  will  yield  greater  knowledge  on  the  subject. 

The  notion  still  persists  among  large  segments  of  the 
population  that  ESP  is  a subject  suitable  only  for  very  spe- 
cial people:  the  weird  fringe,  some  far-out  scientists  per- 
haps, or  those  young  people  who  are  "into”  the  occult. 
Under  no  circumstances  is  it  something  respectable  average 
citizens  get  involved  with.  An  interest  in  ESP  simply  does 
not  stand  up  alongside  such  interests  as  music,  sports,  or 
the  arts.  Anyone  professing  an  interest  in  ESP  is  automati- 
cally classified  as  an  oddball.  This  attitude  is  more  pro- 
nounced in  small  towns  than  it  is  in  sophisticated  cities  like 
New  York,  but  until  recently,  at  least,  the  notion  that  ESP 
might  be  a subject  for  average  people  on  a broad  basis  was 
alien  to  the  public  mind. 

During  that  last  few  years,  however,  this  attitude  has 
shifted  remarkably.  More  and  more,  people  discussing  the 
subject  of  extrasensory  perception  are  welcomed  in  social 
circles  as  unusual  people;  and  they  become  centers  of 
attraction.  Especially  among  the  young,  bringing  up  the 
subject  of  ESP  almost  guarantees  one  immediate  friends. 
True,  eyebrows  are  still  raised  among  older  people,  espe- 
cially business  people  or  those  in  government,  when  ESP  is 
mentioned  as  a serious  subject  matter.  Occasionally  one 
still  hears  the  comment  “You  don’t  really  believe  in  that 
stuff?”  Occasionally,  too,  people  will  give  you  an  argument 
trying  to  prove  that  it  is  still  all  a fraud  and  has  “long  been 
proved  to  be  without  substance.”  It  is  remarkable  how 
some  of  those  avid  scoffers  quote  "authoritative”  sources, 
which  they  never  identify  by  name  or  place.  Even  Professor 
Rhine  is  frequently  pictured  as  a man  who  tried  to  prove 
the  reality  of  ESP  and  failed  miserably. 

Of  course,  we  must  realize  that  people  believe  what 
they  want  to  believe.  If  a person  is  uncomfortable  with  a 
concept,  reasons  for  disbelief  will  be  found  even  if  they  are 
dragged  in  out  of  left  field.  A well-known  way  of  dismiss- 
ing evidence  for  ESP  is  to  quote  only  the  sources  that 
espouse  a negative  point  of  view.  Several  authors  who 
thrive  on  writing  "debunking  books,”  undoubtedly  the 
result  of  the  current  popularity  of  the  occult  subjects,  make 
it  their  business  to  select  bibliographies  of  source  material 
that  contain  only  the  sort  of  proof  they  want  in  light  of 
their  own  prejudiced  purpose.  A balanced  bibliography 
would,  of  course,  yield  different  results  and  would  thwart 
their  efforts  to  debunk  the  subject  of  ESP.  Sometimes  peo- 
ple in  official  positions  will  deny  the  existence  of  factual 
material  so  as  not  to  be  confronted  with  the  evidence,  if 
that  evidence  tends  to  create  a public  image  different  from 
the  one  they  wish  to  project. 

A good  case  in  point  is  an  incident  that  occurred  on 
the  Chicago  television  broadcast  emceed  by  columnist  Irv- 
ing Kupcinet.  Among  the  guests  appearing  with  me  was 
Colonel  “Shorty”  Powers  of  NASA.  I had  just  remarked  that 

Ghosts  and  the  World  of  the  Living 

39 


tests  had  been  conducted  among  astronauts  to  determine 
whether  they  were  capable  of  telepathy  once  the  reaches  of 
outer  space  had  been  entered,  in  case  radio  communications 
should  prove  to  be  inadequate.  Colonel  Powers  rose  indig- 
nantly, denouncing  my  statement  as  false,  saying,  in  effect, 
that  no  tests  had  been  undertaken  among  astronauts  and 
that  such  a program  lacked  a basis  of  fact.  Fortunately, 
however,  I had  upon  me  a letter  on  official  NASA  sta- 
tionery, signed  by  Dr.  M.  Koneci,  who  was  at  the  time 
head  of  that  very  project. 

* * * 

The  kinds  of  people  who  are  interested  in  ESP  include 
some  very  strange  bedfellows:  on  the  one  hand,  there  are 
increasing  numbers  of  scientists  delving  into  the  area  with 
newly  designed  tools  and  new  methods;  on  the  other  hand, 
there  are  lay  people  in  various  fields  who  find  ESP  a fasci- 
nating subject  and  do  not  hesitate  to  admit  their  interest, 
nor  do  they  disguise  their  belief  that  it  works.  Scientists 
have  had  to  swallow  their  pride  and  discard  many  cher- 
ished theories  about  life.  Those  who  have  been  able  to  do 
so,  adjusting  to  the  ever-changing  pattern  of  what  consti- 
tutes scientific  proof,  have  found  their  studies  in  ESP  the 
most  rewarding.  The  late  heart  specialist  Dr.  Alexis  Carrel 
became  interested  in  psychic  phenomena,  according  to 
Monroe  Fry  in  an  article  on  ESP  that  appeared  in  Esquire 
magazine,  during  his  famous  experiment  that  established 
the  immortality  of  individual  cells  in  a fragment  of  chicken 
heart. 

After  he  had  been  working  on  the  problem  for  years 
somebody  asked  him  about  his  conclusions.  "The  work 
of  a scientist  is  to  observe  facts,”  he  said,  "what  I have 
observed  are  facts  troublesome  to  science.  But  they  are 
facts.”  Science  still  knows  very  little  about  the  human 
mind,  but  researchers  are  now  certain  that  the  mind  is 
much  more  powerful  and  complicated  than  they  have 
ever  thought  it  was. 

* * * 

People  accept  theories,  philosophies,  or  beliefs  largely 
on  the  basis  of  who  supports  them,  not  necessarily  on  the 
facts  alone.  If  a highly  regarded  individual  supports  a new 
belief,  people  are  likely  to  follow  him.  Thus  it  was  some- 
thing of  a shock  to  learn,  several  years  after  his  passing, 
that  Franklin  Delano  Roosevelt  had  frequently  sat  in 
seances  during  which  his  late  mother,  Sarah  Delano,  had 
appeared  to  him  and  given  him  advice  in  matters  of  state. 

It  has  quite  definitely  been  established  that  King  George  V 
of  England  also  attended  seances.  To  this  day,  the  English 
royal  family  is  partial  to  psychical  research,  although  very 
little  of  this  is  ever  published.  Less  secret  is  the  case  of 
Canada’s  late  Prime  Minister  William  Mackenzie  King. 
According  to  Life  magazine,  which  devoted  several  pages  to 

CHAPTER  THREE:  Ghosts  and  the 
World  of  the  Living 


King,  he  “was  an  ardent  spiritualist  who  used  mediums, 
the  ouija  board  and  a crystal  ball  for  guidance  in  his  pri- 
vate life.”  It  is  debatable  whether  this  marks  King  as  a 
spiritualist  or  whether  he  was  merely  exercising  his  natural 
gift  of  ESP  and  an  interest  in  psychical  research. 

* * * 

I myself  receive  continual  testimony  that  ESP  is  a fasci- 
nating subject  to  people  who  would  not  have  thought  of 
it  so  a few  years  ago.  Carlton  R.  Adams,  Rear  Admiral, 
U.S.  Navy  retired,  having  read  one  of  my  books,  contacted 
me  to  discuss  my  views  on  reincarnation.  John  D.  Grayson, 
associate  professor  of  linguistics  at  Sir  George  Williams 
University,  Montreal,  Canada,  said,  “If  I lived  in  New 
York,  I should  like  nothing  better  than  to  enroll  in  your 
eight-lecture  course  on  parapsychology.”  Gerald  S.  O’Mor- 
row has  a doctorate  in  education  and  is  at  Indiana  State 
University:  "I  belong  to  a small  development  group  which 
meets  weekly  and  has  been  doing  such  for  the  last  two 
years.”  A lady  initialed  S.  D.  writes  from  California,  “I 
have  been  successful  in  working  a ouija  board  for  eight 
years  on  a serious  basis  and  have  tried  automatic  writing 
with  a small  but  significant  amount  of  success.  I have  a 
great  desire  to  develop  my  latent  powers  but  until  now  I 
haven’t  known  who  to  go  to  that  I could  trust.”  The  lady’s 
profession  is  that  of  a police  matron  with  a local  police 
department. 

A.  P.  gives  a remarkable  account  of  ESP  experiences 
over  the  past  twenty  years.  His  talents  include  both  visual 
and  auditory  phenomena.  In  reporting  his  incidents  to  me, 
he  asked  for  an  appraisal  of  his  abilities  with  ESP.  By  pro- 
fession A.  P.  is  a physician,  a native  of  Cuba. 

S.  B.  Barris  contacted  me  for  an  appraisal  of  his  ESP 
development  in  light  of  a number  of  incidents  in  which  he 
found  himself  capable  of  foretelling  the  result  of  a race, 
whether  or  not  a customer  would  conclude  the  sale  he  was 
hoping  for,  and  several  incidents  of  clairvoyance.  Mr.  Bar- 
ris, in  addition  to  being  a salesman  in  mutual  funds,  is  an 
active  member  of  the  United  States  Army  Reserves  with 
the  rank  of  Major. 

Stanley  R.  Dean,  M.D.,  clinical  professor  of  psychia- 
try at  the  University  of  Florida,  is  a member  of  the  Ameri- 
can Psychiatric  Association  Task  Force  on  transcultural 
psychiatry  and  the  recent  coordinator  of  a symposium  at 
which  a number  of  parapsychologists  spoke. 

Curiously  enough,  the  number  of  people  who  will 
accept  the  existence  of  ESP  is  much  larger  than  the  number 
of  people  who  believe  in  spirit  survival  or  the  more 
advanced  forms  of  occult  beliefs.  ESP  has  the  aura  of  the 
scientific  about  it,  while,  to  the  average  mind  at  least,  sub- 
jects including  spirit  survival,  ghosts,  reincarnation,  and 
such  seemingly  require  facets  of  human  acceptance  other 
than  those  that  are  purely  scientific.  This,  at  least,  is  a 
widely  held  conviction.  At  the  basis  of  this  distinction  lies 
the  unquestionable  fact  that  there  is  a very  pronounced  dif- 
ference between  ESP  and  the  more  advanced  forms  of  occult 


40 


scientific  belief.  For  ESP  to  work,  one  need  not  accept  sur- 
vival of  human  personality  beyond  bodily  death.  ESP 
between  the  living  is  as  valid  as  ESP  between  the  living  and 
the  so-called  dead.  Telepathy  works  whether  one  partner  is 
in  the  great  beyond  or  not.  In  fact,  a large  segment  of  the 
reported  phenomena  involving  clairvoyance  can  probably 
be  explained  on  the  basis  of  simple  ESP  and  need  not 
involve  the  intercession  of  spirits  at  all.  It  has  always  been 
debatable  whether  a medium  obtains  information  about  a 
client  from  a spirit  source  standing  by,  as  it  were,  in  the 
wings,  or  whether  the  medium  obtains  this  information 
from  his  own  unconscious  mind,  drawing  upon  extraordi- 
nary powers  dormant  within  it.  Since  the  results  are  the 
main  concern  of  the  client,  it  is  generally  of  little  impor- 
tance whence  the  information  originates.  It  is,  of  course, 
comforting  to  think  that  ESP  is  merely  an  extension  of  the 
ordinary  five  senses  as  we  know  them,  and  can  be  accepted 
without  the  need  for  overhauling  one’s  greater  philosophy 
of  life.  The  same  cannot  be  said  about  the  acceptance  of 
spirit  communication,  reincarnation,  and  other  occult  phe- 
nomena. Accepting  them  as  realities  requires  a profound 
alteration  of  the  way  average  people  look  at  life.  With  ESP, 
a scientifically  oriented  person  need  only  extend  the  limits 
of  believability  a little,  comparing  the  ESP  faculty  to  radio 
waves  and  himself  to  a receiving  instrument. 

So  widespread  is  the  interest  in  ESP  research  and  so 
many  are  the  published  cases  indicating  its  reality  that  the 
number  of  out-and-out  debunkers  has  shrunk  considerably 
during  the  past  years.  Some  years  ago,  H.  H.  Pierce,  a 
chemist,  seriously  challenged  the  findings  of  Dr.  Joseph 
Rhine  on  the  grounds  that  his  statistics  were  false,  if  not 
fraudulent,  and  that  the  material  proved  nothing.  No  scien- 
tist of  similar  stature  has  come  forth  in  recent  years  to 
challenge  the  acceptance  of  ESP;  to  the  contrary,  more  and 
more  universities  are  devoting  entire  departments  or  special 
projects  to  inquiry  into  the  field  of  ESP.  The  little  debunk- 
ing that  goes  on  still  is  done  by  inept  amateurs  trying  to 
hang  on  to  the  coattails  of  the  current  occult  vogue. 

It  is  only  natural  to  assume  that  extrasensory  percep- 
tion has  great  practical  value  in  crime  detection.  Though 
some  law  enforcement  agencies  have  used  it  and  are  using 
it  in  increasing  instances,  this  does  not  mean  that  the 
courts  will  openly  admit  evidence  obtained  by  psychic 
means.  However,  a psychic  may  help  the  authorities  solve  a 
crime  by  leading  them  to  a criminal  or  to  the  missing  per- 
son. It  is  then  up  to  the  police  or  other  agency  to  establish 
the  facts  by  conventional  means  that  will  stand  up  in  a 
court  of  law.  Without  guidance  from  the  psychic,  however, 
the  authorities  might  still  be  in  the  dark. 

One  of  the  best-known  psychic  persons  to  help  the 
police  and  the  FBI  was  the  late  Florence  Sternfels,  the  great 
psychometrist.  Her  other  talent,  however,  was  police  work. 
She  would  pick  up  a trail  from  such  meager  clues  as  an 
object  belonging  to  the  missing  person,  or  even  merely  by 
being  asked  whatever  happened  to  so-and-so.  Of  course, 
she  had  no  access  to  any  information  about  the  case,  nor 


was  she  ever  told  afterwards  how  the  case  ended.  The 
police  like  to  come  to  psychics  for  help,  but  once  they  have 
gotten  what  they’ve  come  for,  they  are  reluctant  to  keep 
the  psychic  informed  of  the  progress  they  have  made 
because  of  the  leads  provided.  They  are  even  more  reluc- 
tant to  admit  that  a psychic  has  helped  them.  This  can 
take  on  preposterous  proportions. 

The  Dutch  psychic  Peter  Hurkos,  whose  help  was 
sought  by  the  Boston  police  in  the  case  of  the  Boston 
Strangler,  was  indeed  able  to  describe  in  great  detail  what 
the  killer  looked  like. 

Hurkos  came  to  Boston  to  help  the  authorities  but 
soon  found  himself  in  the  middle  of  a power  play  between 
the  Boston  police  and  the  Massachusetts  Attorney  General. 
The  police  had  close  ties  to  Boston’s  Democratic  machine, 
and  the  Attorney  General  was  a Republican.  Hurkos,  even 
worse,  was  a foreigner. 

When  the  newspapers  splashed  the  psychic’s  success- 
ful tracing  of  the  killer  all  over  the  front  pages,  something 
within  the  police  department  snapped.  Hurkos,  sure  he  had 
picked  the  right  suspect,  returned  to  New  York,  his  job 
done.  The  following  morning  he  was  arrested  on  the  charge 
of  having  impersonated  an  FBI  man  several  months  before. 
He  had  allegedly  said  as  much  to  a gas  station  attendant 
and  shown  him  some  credentials.  This  happened  when  the 
gas  station  man  noticed  some  rifles  in  Hurkos ’s  car.  The 
“credentials”  were  honorary  police  cards  which  many  grate- 
ful police  chiefs  had  given  the  psychic  for  his  aid.  Hurkos, 
whose  English  was  fragmentary — for  that  matter,  his 
Dutch  might  not  be  good,  since  he  was  only  a house 
painter  before  he  turned  psychic — said  something  to  the 
effect  that  he  worked  with  the  FBI,  which  was  perfectly 
true.  To  a foreigner,  the  difference  between  such  a state- 
ment and  an  assertion  of  being  an  FBI  man  is  negligible 
and  perhaps  even  unimportant. 

Those  in  the  know  realized  that  Hurkos  was  being 
framed,  and  some  papers  said  so  immediately.  Then  the 
Attorney  General’s  office  picked  up  another  suspect,  who 
practically  matched  the  first  one  in  appearance,  weight, 
height.  Which  man  did  the  killing?  But  Hurkos  had  done 
his  job  well.  He  had  pointed  out  the  places  where  victims 
had  been  found  and  he  had  described  the  killer.  And  what 
did  it  bring  him  for  his  troubles,  beyond  a modest  fee  of 
$1,000?  Only  trouble  and  embarrassment. 

Florence  Sternfels  was  more  fortunate  in  her  police 
contacts.  One  of  her  best  cases  concerns  the  FBI.  During 
the  early  part  of  World  War  II,  she  strongly  felt  that  the 
Iona  Island  powder  depot  would  be  blown  up  by  saboteurs. 
She  had  trouble  getting  to  the  right  person,  of  course,  but 
eventually  she  succeeded,  and  the  detonation  was  headed 
off  just  in  the  nick  of  time.  During  the  ten  years  I knew 
and  sometimes  worked  with  her,  Sternfels  was  consulted  in 
dozens  of  cases  of  mysterious  disappearances  and  missing 
persons.  In  one  instance,  she  was  flown  to  Colorado  to  help 


Ghosts  and  the  World  of  the  Living 

41 


local  law  officers  track  down  a murderer.  Never  frightened, 
she  saw  the  captured  man  a day  or  two  later.  Incidentally, 
she  never  charged  a penny  for  this  work  with  the 
authorities. 

The  well-known  Dutch  clairvoyant  Gerard  Croiset 
has  worked  with  the  police  in  Holland  on  a number  of 
cases  of  murder  or  disappearance.  In  the  United  States, 
Croiset  attempted  to  solve  the  almost  legendary  disappear- 
ance of  Judge  Crater  with  the  help  of  his  biographer,  Jack 
Harrison  Pollack.  Although  Croiset  succeeded  in  adding 
new  material,  Pollack  was  not  able  to  actually  find  the 
bones  in  the  spot  indicated  by  Croiset  through  the  use  of 
clairvoyance.  However,  Croiset  was  of  considerable  help  in 
the  case  of  three  murdered  civil  rights  workers.  He  sup- 
plied, again  through  Jack  Pollack,  a number  of  clues  and 
pieces  of  information  as  to  where  the  bodies  would  be 
found,  who  the  murderers  were,  and  how  the  crime  had 
been  committed,  at  a time  when  the  question  of  whether 
they  were  even  dead  or  not  had  not  yet  been  resolved! 

Croiset  sees  in  pictures  rather  than  words  or  sen- 
tences. He  need  not  be  present  at  the  scene  of  a crime  to 
get  impressions,  but  holding  an  object  belonging  to  the 
person  whose  fate  he  is  to  fathom  helps  him. 

What  do  the  police  think  of  this  kind  of  help? 

Officially,  they  do  not  like  to  say  they  use  it,  but 
unofficially,  why  that’s  another  matter.  When  I worked  on 
the  Serge  Rubinstein  case  a year  after  the  financier’s 
murder — when  it  was  as  much  a mystery  as  it  is,  at  least 
officially,  today — I naturally  turned  over  to  the  New  York 
police  every  scrap  of  information  I obtained.  The  medium 
in  this  case  was  Mrs.  Ethel  Meyers,  and  the  evidence  was 
indeed  remarkable.  Rubinstein’s  mother  was  present  during 
the  trance  session,  and  readily  identified  the  voice  coming 
from  the  entranced  psychic’s  lips  as  that  of  her  murdered 
son.  Moreover,  certain  peculiar  turns  of  language  were  used 
that  were  characteristic  of  the  deceased.  None  of  this  was 
known  to  the  medium  or  to  myself  at  the  time. 

As  we  sat  in  the  very  spot  where  the  tragic  event  had 
taken  place,  the  restless  spirit  of  Serge  Rubinstein 
requested  revenge,  of  course,  and  named  names  and  cir- 
cumstances of  his  demise.  In  subsequent  sittings,  additional 
information  was  given,  safe  deposit  box  numbers  were 
named,  and  all  sorts  of  detailed  business,  obtained;  but,  for 
reasons  unknown,  the  police  did  not  act  on  this,  perhaps 
because  it  hardly  stands  up  in  a court  of  law.  The  guilty 
parties  were  well  known,  partly  as  a result  of  ordinary 
police  work,  and  partly  from  our  memos  and  transcriptions, 
but  to  make  the  accusation  stick  would  prove  difficult. 
Then,  after  Rubinstein’s  mother  died,  the  case  slid  back 
into  the  gray  world  of  forgotten,  unsolved  crimes. 

* * * 


CHAPTER  THREE:  Ghosts  and  the 
World  of  the  Living 


Some  police  officers,  at  least,  do  not  hesitate  to  speak 
up,  however,  and  freely  admit  the  importance  of  ESP  in 
their  work.  On  October  9,  1964,  Lieutenant  John  J.  Cronin 
gave  an  interview  to  the  New  York  journal- American’s 
William  McFadden,  in  which  he  made  his  experiences  with 
ESP  known.  This  is  what  the  reporter  wrote: 

In  the  not  too  distant  future,  every  police  department 
in  the  land  will  have  extra-sensory  perception  con- 
sultants, perhaps  even  extra-sensory  perception  bureaus, 

New  York  Police  Lt.  John  J.  Cronin  said  today. 

For  18  years — longer  than  any  other  man  in  the  his- 
tory of  the  department — he  headed  the  Missing  Persons 
Bureau. 

“After  I retire,  I might  write  a book  on  ESP,"  he 
said.  “It  has  provided  much  information  on  police  cases 
that  is  accurate." 

One  of  the  fantastic  cases  he  cited  was  that  of  a 10- 
year-old  Baltimore  girl  who  was  missing  last  July. 

A Baltimore  police  sergeant  visited  Mrs.  Florence 
Sternfels  of  Edgewater,  N.J.,  who  calls  herself  a psy- 
chometrist.  On  her  advice,  when  he  got  back  to  Balti- 
more he  dug  in  a neighbor’s  cellar.  The  body  of  the  girl 
was  found  two  feet  under  the  dirt  floor. 

Lt.  Cronin  also  noted  that  Gerard  Croiset,  the  Dutch 
clairvoyant,  is  credited  with  finding  400  missing 
children. 

“Right  now,  ESP  is  a hit  and  miss  proposition.  It’s  in 
an  elementary  stage,  the  stage  electricity  was  in  when 
Ben  Franklin  flew  his  kite,"  Lt.  Cronin  said. 

“But  it  does  exist.  It  is  a kind  of  sixth  sense  that 
primitive  man  possessed  but  has  been  lost  through  the 
ages.  It’s  not  supernatural,  mind  you.  And  it  will  be  the 
method  of  the  future. 

“Once  it  is  gotten  into  scientific  shape,  it  will  help 
law  enforcement  agencies  solve  certain  crimes  that  have 
been  baffling  them.  ” 

Stressing  that  ESP  will  grow  in  police  use,  he  said: 

“In  Europe  some  of  the  ESP  people  have  been  qualified 
to  give  testimony  in  court.  It  will  come  here,  too." 

More  specific  and  illustrative  of  the  methods  used  by 
psychics  in  helping  solve  crimes  is  a column  devoted  to  a 
case  in  Washington  State,  written  by  Michael  MacDougall 
for  the  Long  Island  Press  of  May  3,  1964,  in  which  he  sug- 
gests that  someone  with  ESP  should  be  on  the  staff  of  every 
police  department  in  order  to  help  solve  difficult  crimes. 
MacDougall  makes  a very  strong  case  for  his  conviction  in 
his  report  on  a case  that  took  place  a month  earlier. 

DeMille,  the  famous  mentalist  currently  touring  for 
the  Associated  Executives  Clubs,  checked  into  the  Chi- 
nook Hotel  in  Yakima,  Wash.,  at  2 P.M.  on  Friday, 

April  3.  He  was  tired,  and  intended  to  shower  and  sleep 
before  that  evening’s  lecture.  But  hardly  had  he  turned 
the  key  in  the  lock  when  the  phone  rang. 

It  was  a woman  calling.  "My  friend  has  had  her  wal- 
let stolen,”  the  feminine  voice  said.  “It  contained  several 
articles  of  sentimental  value  which  she  would  like  to 
recover.  Can  you  help  her  find  it?" 


42 


"Perhaps,"  said  DeMille.  "I’ll  do  my  best.  But  you'll 
have  to  wait  until  after  my  speech.  Call  me  about  ten- 
thirty.” 

DeMille  hung  up,  tumbled  into  bed.  But  he  couldn’t 
sleep.  The  thought  of  that  stolen  wallet  kept  intruding. 

Then,  just  on  the  edge  of  unconsciousness,  when  one  is 
neither  asleep  nor  awake,  he  envisioned  the  crime. 

Two  teen-age  boys,  one  wearing  a red  sweater,  stole 
up  behind  a woman  shopper.  One  stepped  in  front, 
diverting  her  attention,  while  his  partner  gently  unfastened 
her  handbag,  removed  the  wallet,  and  scampered 
around  the  corner,  to  be  joined  later  by  his  confederate. 

DeMille  saw  more.  The  boys  got  into  a beat-up 
Ford.  They  drove  away,  parked  briefly  in  front  of  a 
used  car  lot.  Opening  the  wallet,  they  took  out  a roll  of 
bills,  which  were  divided  evenly.  DeMille  wasn't  sure  of 
the  count  but  thought  it  was  $46.  Then  the  boys  exam- 
ined a checkbook.  DeMille  saw  the  number  2798301 , 
and  the  legend:  First  National  Bank  of  Washington.  He 
also  received  an  impression  that  it  was  some  kind  of  a 
meat-packing  firm. 

Now  fully  awake,  DeMille  phoned  K.  Gordon  Smith, 
secretary  of  the  Knife  and  Fork  Club,  the  organization 
for  which  DeMille  was  speaking  that  night.  The  secretary 
came  up  to  DeMille’s  room,  listened  to  the  story, 
and  advised  calling  the  police. 

Soon  DeMille  had  callers.  One  introduced  himself  as 
Frank  Gayman,  a reporter  for  the  Yakima  Herald.  The 
other  was  Sergeant  Walt  Dutcher,  of  the  Yakima  Police. 

Again  DeMille  told  his  story.  Gayman  was  skeptical  but 
willing  to  be  convinced.  The  sergeant  was  totally  disbe- 
lieving and  openly  hostile. 

DeMille  suggested  they  call  the  First  National  Bank 
and  find  out  if  a meat-packing  company  had  a checking 
account  numbered  2798301 . Then  it  would  be  easy  to 
call  the  company  and  discover  whether  or  not  any 
female  employee  had  been  robbed. 

The  report  was  negative.  Account  #2798301  was  not 
a meat-picking  company.  In  fact,  the  bank  had  no  meat 
packers  as  customers.  Fruit  packers,  yes;  meat  packers, 
no. 

Sergeant  Dutcher,  after  threatening  DeMille  with 
arrest  for  turning  in  a false  crime  report,  stamped  out  of 
the  room.  Frank  Gayman,  still  willing  to  be  convinced, 
remained.  The  phone  rang  again.  It  was  for  Gayman; 
the  bank  was  calling. 

There  was  an  account  numbered  2798001  carried  by 
Club  Scout  Pack  #3.  Could  this  be  the  one?  Immediately, 
DeMille  knew  that  it  was. 

The  president  of  the  Knife  and  Fork  Club,  one  Karl 
Steinhilb,  volunteered  to  drive  DeMille  about  the  city. 
Following  the  mentalist’s  directions,  Steinhilb  drove  to 
an  outlying  section,  parked  in  front  of  a used  car  lot. 

And  sure  enough,  in  the  bushes  fronting  a nearby  house 
they  found  the  discarded  wallet. 

The  Yakima  Police  Department  was  not  quite  the 
same  after  that. 

The  cases  of  cooperation  between  psychics  or  psychic 
researchers  and  police  departments  are  becoming  more 
numerous  as  time  goes  on  and  less  prejudice  remains 
toward  the  use  of  such  persons  in  law  enforcement. 


In  July,  1965,  the  Austin,  Texas,  police  used  the  ser- 
vices of  a Dallas  psychic  in  the  case  of  two  missing 
University  of  Texas  girls,  who  were  much  later  found 
murdered.  At  the  time  of  the  consultation,  however,  one 
week  after  the  girls  had  disappeared,  she  predicted  that  the 
girls  would  be  found  within  twenty-four  hours,  which  they 
weren’t,  and  that  three  men  were  involved,  which  proved 
true. 

But  then  the  time  element  is  often  a risky  thing  with 
predictions.  Time  is  one  of  the  dimensions  that  is  least 
capable  of  being  read  correctly  by  many  psychics.  This  of 
course  may  be  due  to  the  fact  that  time  is  an  arbitrary  and 
perhaps  even  artificial  element  introduced  by  man  to  make 
life  more  livable;  in  the  nonphysical  world,  it  simply  does 
not  exist.  Thus  when  a psychic  looks  into  the  world  of  the 
mind  and  then  tries  to  interpret  the  conditions  he  or  she  is 
impressed  with,  the  time  element  is  often  wrong.  It  is 
based  mainly  on  the  psychic’s  own  interpretation,  not  on  a 
solid  image,  as  is  the  case  with  facts,  names,  and  places 
that  he  or  she  might  describe. 

One  of  the  institutes  of  learning  specializing  in  work 
with  clairvoyants  that  cooperate  with  police  authorities  is 
the  University  of  Utrecht,  Netherlands,  where  Dr.  W.  H. 
C.  Tenhaeff  is  the  head  of  the  Parapsychology  Institute. 
Between  1950  and  1960  alone,  the  Institute  studied  over  40 
psychics,  including  26  men  and  21  women,  according  to 
author-researcher  Jack  Harrison  Pollack,  who  visited  the 
Institute  in  1960  and  wrote  a glowing  report  on  its  activi- 
ties. 

Pollack  wrote  a popular  book  about  Croiset,  who  was 
the  Institute’s  star  psychic  and  who  started  out  as  an  ordi- 
nary grocer  until  he  discovered  his  unusual  gift  and  put  it 
to  professional  use,  especially  after  he  met  Dr.  Tenhaeff  in 
1964. 

But  Croiset  is  only  one  of  the  people  who  was  tested 
in  the  Dutch  research  center.  Others  are  Warner  Tholen, 
whose  specialty  is  locating  missing  objects,  and  Pierre  van 
Delzen,  who  can  put  his  hands  on  a globe  and  predict  con- 
ditions in  that  part  of  the  world. 

The  University  of  Utrecht  is,  in  this  respect,  far 
ahead  of  other  places  of  learning.  In  the  United  States,  Dr. 
Joseph  B.  Rhine  has  made  a brilliant  initial  effort,  but 
today  Duke  University’s  parapsychology  laboratory  is 
doing  little  to  advance  research  in  ESP  beyond  repeat 
experiments  and  cautious,  very  cautious,  theorizing  on  the 
nature  of  man.  There  is  practically  no  field  work  being 
done  outside  the  laboratory,  and  no  American  university  is 
in  the  position,  either  financially  or  in  terms  of  staff,  to 
work  with  such  brilliant  psychics  as  does  Dr.  Tenhaeff  in 
Holland. 

For  a country  that  has  more  per-capita  crime  than 
any  other,  one  would  expect  that  the  police  would  welcome 
all  the  help  they  could  get. 


Ghosts  and  the  World  of  the  Living 

43 


In  the  following  pages  you  will  read  about  true  cases 
of  hauntings,  encounters  with  ghosts  and  apparitions  of 
spirits,  all  of  which  have  been  fully  documented  and  wit- 
nessed by  responsible  people.  To  experience  these  phenom- 
ena, you  need  not  be  a true  "medium,”  though  the  line 
between  merely  having  ESP  or  being  psychic  with  full 
mediumship,  which  involves  clairvoyance  (seeing  things), 


clairaudience  (hearing  things),  and/or  clairsentience 
(smelling  or  feeling  things),  is  rather  vague  at  times.  It  is 
all  a matter  of  degree,  and  some  people  partake  of  more 
than  one  “phase”  or  form  of  psychic  ability.  Regardless  of 
which  sensitivity  applies  to  your  situation,  they  are  natural 
and  need  not  be  feared. 


CHAPTER  THREE:  Ghosts  and  the 
World  of  the  Living 


44 


CHAPTER  FOUR 


What  Exactly 
Is  a Ghost? 


FROM  CLOSED-MINDED  SKEPTICS  to  uninformed  would-be  believers,  from  Hollywood  horror 

movies  to  Caspar  the  Ghost,  there  is  a great  deal  of  misinformation  and  foolish  fantasy  floating 
around  as  to  what  ghosts  are  and,  of  course,  whether  they  do  in  fact  exist. 

I was  one  of  the  first  people  with  a background  not  only  in  science,  but  also  in  investigative  jour- 
nalism to  say  to  the  general  public,  in  books  and  in  the  media,  Yes,  ghosts  are  for  real.  Nobody 
laughed,  because  I followed  through  with  evidence  and  with  authentic  photographic  material  taken 
under  test  conditions. 

What  exactly  is  a ghost?  Something  people  dream  up  in  their  cups  or  on  a sickbed?  Something 
you  read  about  in  juvenile  fiction?  Far  from  it.  Ghosts — apparitions  of  “dead”  people  or  sounds  asso- 
ciated with  invisible  human  beings — are  the  surviving  emotional  memories  of  people  who  have  not 
been  able  to  make  the  transition  from  their  physical  state  into  the  world  of  the  spirit — or  as  Dr. 

Joseph  Rhine  of  Duke  University  has  called  it,  the  world  of  the  mind.  Their  state  is  one  of  emotional 
shock  induced  by  sudden  death  or  great  suffering,  and  because  of  it  the  individuals  involved  cannot 
understand  what  is  happening  to  them.  They  are  unable  to  see  beyond  their  own  immediate  environ- 
ment or  problem,  and  so  they  are  forced  to  continually  relive  those  final  moments  of  agony  until 
someone  breaks  through  and  explains  things  to  them.  In  this  respect  they  are  like  psychotics  being 
helped  by  the  psychoanalyst,  except  that  the  patient  is  not  on  the  couch,  but  rather  in  the  atmosphere 
of  destiny.  Man’s  electromagnetic  nature  makes  this  perfectly  plausible;  that  is,  since  our  individual 
personality  is  really  nothing  more  than  a personal  energy  field  encased  in  a denser  outer  layer  called 
the  physical  body,  the  personality  can  store  emotional  stimuli  and  memories  indefinitely  without  much 
dimming,  very  much  like  a tape  recording  that  can  be  played  over  and  over  without  losing  clarity  or 
volume. 

Those  who  die  normally  under  conditions  of  adjustment  need  not  go  through  this  agony,  and 
they  seem  to  pass  on  rapidly  into  that  next  state  of 
consciousness  that  may  be  a “heaven”  or  a “hell,” 

What  Exactly  Is  a Ghost? 


_ 


45 


according  to  what  the  individual’s  mental  state  at  death 
might  have  been.  Neither  state  is  an  objective  place,  but  is 
a subjective  state  of  being.  The  sum  total  of  similar  states 
of  being  may,  however,  create  a quasi-objective  state 
approaching  a condition  or  “place”  along  more  orthodox 
religious  lines.  My  contact  with  the  confused  individuals 
unable  to  depart  from  the  earth's  sphere,  those  who  are 
commonly  called  “ghosts"  or  earth-bound  spirits,  is 
through  a trance  medium  who  will  lend  her  physical  body 
temporarily  to  the  entities  in  difficulty  so  that  they  can 
speak  through  the  medium  and  detail  their  problems,  frus- 
trations, or  unfinished  business.  Here  again,  the  parallel 
with  psychoanalysis  becomes  apparent:  in  telling  their  tales 
of  woe,  the  restless  ones  relieve  themselves  of  their  pres- 
sures and  anxieties  and  thus  may  free  themselves  of  their 
bonds.  If  fear  is  the  absence  of  information,  as  I have 
always  held,  then  knowledge  is  indeed  the  presence  of 
understanding.  Or  view  it  the  other  way  round,  if  you  pre- 
fer. Because  of  my  books,  people  often  call  on  me  to  help 
them  understand  problems  of  this  nature.  Whenever  some- 
one has  seen  a ghost  or  heard  noises  of  a human  kind  that 
do  not  seem  to  go  with  a body,  and  feel  it  might  be  some- 
thing I ought  to  look  into,  I usually  do. 

To  be  sure,  I don’t  always  find  a ghost.  But  fre- 
quently I do  find  one,  and  moreover,  I find  that  many  of 
those  who  have  had  the  uncanny  experiences  are  them- 
selves mediumistic,  and  are  therefore  capable  of  being  com- 
munications vehicles  for  the  discarnates.  Ghosts  are  more 
common  than  most  people  realize,  and,  really  quite  natural 
and  harmless.  Though,  at  times,  they  are  sad  and  shocking, 
as  all  human  suffering  is,  for  man  is  his  worst  enemy, 
whether  in  the  flesh  or  outside  of  it.  But  there  is  nothing 
mystical  about  the  powers  of  ESP  or  the  ability  to  experience 
ghostly  phenomena. 

Scoffers  like  to  dismiss  all  ghostly  encounters  by  cut- 
ting the  witnesses  down  to  size — their  size.  The  witnesses 
are  probably  mentally  unbalanced,  they  say,  or  sick  people 
who  hallucinate  a lot,  or  they  were  tired  that  day,  or  it 
must  have  been  the  reflection  from  (pick  your  light  source), 
or  finally,  in  desperation,  they  may  say  yes,  something 
probably  happened  to  them,  but  in  the  telling  they  blew  it 
all  up  so  you  can’t  be  sure  any  more  what  really  happened. 

I love  the  way  many  people  who  cannot  accept  the 
possibility  of  ghosts  being  real  toss  out  their  views  on  what 
happened  to  strangers.  They  say,  "Probably  this  or  that,” 
and  from  “probably”  for  them,  it  is  only  a short  step  to 
“certainly.”  The  human  mind  is  as  clever  at  inventing 
away  as  it  is  at  hallucinating.  The  advantage  in  being  a sci- 
entifically trained  reporter,  as  I am,  is  the  ability  to  dismiss 
people’s  interpretations  and  find  the  facts.  I talked  of  the 
Ghosts  I’ve  Met  in  a book  a few  years  ago  that  bore  that 
title.  Even  more  fascinating  are  the  people  I’ve  met  who 
encounter  ghosts.  Are  they  sick,  unbalanced,  crackpots  or 
other  unrealistic  individuals  whose  testimony  is  worthless? 

CHAPTER  FOUR:  What  Exactly  Is  a Ghost? 


Far  from  it. 

Those  who  fall  into  that  category  never  get  to  me  in 
the  first  place.  They  don’t  stand  up  under  my  methods  of 
scrutiny.  Crackpots,  beware!  I call  a spade  a spade,  as  I 
proved  when  I exposed  the  fake  spiritualist  camp  practices 
in  print  some  years  ago. 

The  people  who  come  across  ghostly  manifestations 
are  people  like  you. 

Take  the  couple  from  Springfield,  Illinois,  for 
instance.  Their  names  are  Gertrude  and  Russell  Meyers 
and  they  were  married  in  1935.  He  worked  as  a stereo  typer 
on  the  local  newspaper,  and  she  was  a high-school  teacher. 
Both  of  them  were  in  their  late  twenties  and  couldn't  care 
less  about  such  things  as  ghosts. 

At  the  time  of  their  marriage,  they  had  rented  a five- 
room  cottage  which  had  stood  empty  for  some  time.  It  had 
no  particular  distinction  but  a modest  price,  and  was 
located  in  Bloomington  where  the  Meyerses  then  lived. 

Gertrude  Meyers  came  from  a farm  background  and 
had  studied  at  Illinois  Wesleyan  as  well  as  the  University 
of  Chicago.  For  a while  she  worked  as  a newspaperwoman 
in  Detroit,  later  taught  school,  and  as  a sideline  has  written 
a number  of  children’s  books.  Her  husband  Russell,  also  of 
farm  background,  attended  Illinois  State  Normal  University 
at  Normal,  Illinois,  and  later  took  his  apprenticeship  at  the 
Bloomington  Pantograph. 

The  house  they  had  rented  in  Bloomington  was 
exactly  like  the  house  next  to  it;  the  current  owners  had 
converted  what  was  formerly  one  large  house  into  two  sepa- 
rate units,  laying  a driveway  between  them. 

In  the  summer,  after  they  had  moved  into  their 
house,  they  went  about  the  business  of  settling  down  to  a 
routine.  Since  her  husband  worked  the  night  shift  on  the 
newspaper,  Mrs.  Meyers  was  often  left  alone  in  the  house. 
At  first,  it  did  not  bother  her  at  all.  Sounds  from  the  street 
penetrated  into  the  house  and  gave  her  a feeling  of  people 
nearby.  But  when  the  chill  of  autumn  set  in  and  the  win- 
dows had  to  be  closed  to  keep  it  out,  she  became  aware, 
gradually,  that  she  was  not  really  alone. 

One  particular  night  early  in  their  occupancy  of  the 
house,  she  had  gone  to  bed  leaving  her  bedroom  door  ajar. 
It  was  10:30  and  she  was  just  about  ready  to  go  to  sleep 
when  she  heard  rapid,  firm  footsteps  starting  at  the  front 
door,  inside  the  house,  and  coming  through  the  living 
room,  the  dining  room,  and  finally  coming  down  the  hall 
leading  to  her  bedroom  door. 

She  leapt  out  of  bed  and  locked  the  door.  Then  she 
went  back  into  bed  and  sat  there,  wondering  with  sheer 
terror  what  the  intruder  would  do.  But  nobody  came. 

More  to  calm  herself  than  because  she  really  believed 
it,  Mrs.  Meyers  convinced  herself  that  she  must  have  been 
mistaken  about  those  footsteps. 

It  was  probably  someone  in  the  street.  With  this 
reassuring  thought  on  her  mind,  she  managed  to  fall 
asleep. 


46 


The  next  morning,  she  did  not  tell  her  new  husband 
about  the  nocturnal  event.  After  all,  she  did  not  want  him 
to  think  he  had  married  a strange  woman! 

But  the  footsteps  returned,  night  after  night,  always 
at  the  same  time  and  always  stopping  abruptly  at  her  bed- 
room door,  which,  needless  to  say,  she  kept  locked. 

Rather  than  facing  her  husband  with  the  allegation 
that  they  had  rented  a haunted  house,  she  bravely  decided 
to  face  the  intruder  and  find  out  what  this  was  all  about. 
One  night  she  deliberately  waited  for  the  now  familiar 
brisk  footfalls.  The  clock  struck  10:00,  then  10:30.  In  the 
quiet  of  the  night,  she  could  hear  her  heart  pounding  in 
her  chest. 

Then  the  footsteps  came,  closer  and  closer,  until  they 
got  to  her  bedroom  door.  At  this  moment,  Mrs.  Meyers 
jumped  out  of  bed,  snapped  on  the  light,  and  tore  the  door 
wide  open. 

There  was  nobody  there,  and  no  retreating  footsteps 
could  be  heard. 

She  tried  it  again  and  again,  but  the  invisible  intruder 
never  showed  himself  once  the  door  was  opened. 

The  winter  was  bitterly  cold,  and  Russell  was  in  the 
habit  of  building  up  a fire  in  the  furnace  in  the  basement 
when  he  came  home  from  work  at  3:30  A.M.  Mrs.  Meyers 
always  heard  him  come  in,  but  did  not  get  up.  One  night 
he  left  the  basement,  came  into  the  bedroom  and  said, 
"Why  are  you  walking  around  this  freezing  house  in  the 
middle  of  the  night?” 

Of  course  she  had  not  been  out  of  bed  all  night,  and 
told  him  as  much.  Then  they  discovered  that  he,  too,  had 
heard  footsteps,  but  had  thought  it  was  his  wife  walking 
restlessly  about  the  house.  Meyers  had  heard  the  steps 
whenever  he  was  fixing  the  furnace  in  the  basement,  but  by 
the  time  he  got  upstairs  they  had  ceased. 

When  Mrs.  Meyers  had  to  get  up  early  to  go  to  her 
classes,  her  husband  would  stay  in  the  house  sleeping  late. 
On  many  days  he  would  hear  someone  walking  about  the 
house  and  investigate,  only  to  find  himself  quite  alone. 

He  would  wake  up  in  the  middle  of  the  night  thinking 
his  wife  and  gotten  up,  and  was  immediately  reassured 
that  she  was  sleeping  peacefully  next  to  him.  Yet  there  was 
someone  out  there  in  the  empty  house! 

Since  everything  was  securely  locked,  and  countless 
attempts  to  trap  the  ghost  had  failed,  the  Meyerses 
shrugged  and  learned  to  live  with  their  peculiar  boarder. 
Gradually  the  steps  became  part  of  the  atmosphere  of  the 
old  house,  and  the  terror  began  to  fade  into  the  darkness  of 
night. 

In  May  of  the  following  year,  they  decided  to  work  in 
the  garden  and,  as  they  did  so,  they  met  their  next-door 
neighbors  for  the  first  time.  Since  they  lived  in  identical 
houses,  they  had  something  in  common,  and  conversation 
between  them  and  the  neighbors — a young  man  of  twenty- 
five  and  his  grandmother — sprang  up. 

Eventually,  the  discussion  got  around  to  the  foot- 
steps. They,  too,  kept  hearing  them,  it  seemed.  After  they 


had  compared  notes  on  their  experiences,  the  Meyerses 
asked  more  questions.  They  were  told  that  before  the 
house  was  divided,  it  belonged  to  a single  owner  who  had 
committed  suicide  in  the  house.  No  wonder  he  liked  to 
walk  in  both  halves  of  what  was  once  his  home! 

* * * 

You’d  never  think  of  Kokomo,  Indiana  as  particularly 
haunted  ground,  but  one  of  the  most  touching  cases  I 
know  of  occurred  there  some  time  ago.  A young  woman  by 
the  name  of  Mary  Elizabeth  Hamilton  was  in  the  habit  of 
spending  many  of  her  summer  vacations  in  her  grand- 
mother’s house.  The  house  dates  back  to  1834  and  is  a 
handsome  place,  meticulously  kept  up. 

Miss  Hamilton  had  never  had  the  slightest  interest  in 
the  supernatural,  and  the  events  that  transpired  that  sum- 
mer, when  she  spent  four  weeks  at  the  house,  came  as  a 
complete  surprise  to  her.  One  evening  she  was  walking 
down  the  front  staircase  when  she  was  met  by  a lovely 
young  lady  coming  up  the  stairs.  Miss  Hamilton  noticed 
that  she  wore  a particularly  beautiful  evening  gown.  There 
was  nothing  the  least  bit  ghostly  about  the  woman,  and  she 
passed  Miss  Hamilton  closely,  in  fact  so  closely  that  she 
could  have  touched  her  had  she  wanted  to. 

But  she  did  notice  that  the  gown  was  of  a filmy  pink 
material,  and  her  hair  and  eyes  were  dark  brown,  and  the 
latter,  full  of  tears.  When  the  two  women  met,  the  girl  in 
the  evening  gown  smiled  at  Miss  Hamilton  and  passed  by. 

Since  she  knew  that  there  was  no  other  visitor  in  the 
house,  and  that  no  one  was  expected  at  this  time,  Miss 
Hamilton  was  puzzled.  She  turned  her  head  to  follow  her 
up  the  stairs.  The  lady  in  pink  reached  the  top  of  the  stairs 
and  vanished — into  thin  air. 

As  soon  as  she  could,  she  reported  the  matter  to  her 
grandmother,  who  shook  her  head  and  would  not  believe 
her  account.  She  would  not  even  discuss  it,  so  Miss  Hamil- 
ton let  the  matter  drop  out  of  deference  to  her  grand- 
mother. But  the  dress  design  had  been  so  unusual,  she 
decided  to  check  it  out  in  a library.  She  found,  to  her 
amazement,  that  the  lady  in  pink  had  worn  a dress  that 
was  from  the  late  1 840s. 

In  September  of  the  next  year,  her  grandmother 
decided  to  redecorate  the  house.  In  this  endeavor  she  used 
many  old  pieces  of  furniture,  some  of  which  had  come 
from  the  attic  of  the  house.  When  Miss  Hamilton  arrived 
and  saw  the  changes,  she  was  suddenly  stopped  by  a por- 
trait hung  in  the  hall. 

It  was  a portrait  of  her  lady  of  the  stairs.  She  was  not 
wearing  the  pink  gown  in  this  picture  but,  other  than  that, 
she  was  the  same  person. 

Miss  Hamilton’s  curiosity  about  the  whole  matter 
was  again  aroused  and,  since  she  could  not  get  any  cooper- 
ation from  her  grandmother,  she  turned  to  her  great  aunt 


What  Exactly  Is  a Ghost? 


47 


for  help.  This  was  particularly  fortunate  since  the  aunt  was 
a specialist  in  family  genealogy. 

Finally  the  lady  of  the  stairs  was  identified.  She 
turned  out  to  be  a distant  cousin  of  Miss  Hamilton’s,  and 
had  once  lived  in  that  very  house. 

She  had  fallen  in  love  with  a ne’er-do-well,  and  after 
he  died  in  a brawl,  she  threw  herself  down  the  stairs  to  her 
death. 

Why  had  the  family  ghost  picked  her  to  appear 
before,  Miss  Hamilton  wondered. 

Then  she  realized  that  she  bore  a strong  facial  resem- 
blance to  the  ghost.  Moreover,  their  names  were  almost 
identical — Mary  Elizabeth  was  Miss  Hamilton’s,  and 
Elizabeth  Mary,  the  pink  lady's.  Both  women  even  had  the 
same  nickname,  Libby. 

Perhaps  the  ghost  had  looked  for  a little  recognition 
from  her  family  and,  having  gotten  none  from  the  grand- 
mother, had  seized  upon  the  opportunity  to  manifest  her- 
self to  a more  amenable  relative? 

Miss  Hamilton  is  happy  that  she  was  able  to  see  the 
sad  smile  on  the  unfortunate  girl’s  face,  for  to  her  it  is 
proof  that  communication,  though  silent,  had  taken  place 
between  them  across  the  years. 

* * * 

Mrs.  Jane  Eidson  is  a housewife  in  suburban  Min- 
neapolis. She  is  middle-aged  and  her  five  children  range  in 
age  from  nine  to  twenty.  Her  husband  Bill  travels  four  days 
each  week.  They  live  in  a cottage-type  brick  house  that  is 
twenty-eight  years  old,  and  they’ve  lived  there  for  the  past 
eight  years. 

The  first  time  the  Eidsons  noticed  that  there  was 
something  odd  about  their  otherwise  ordinary-looking 
home  was  after  they  had  been  in  the  house  for  a short 
time.  Mrs.  Eidson  was  in  the  basement  sewing,  when  all  of 
a sudden  she  felt  that  she  was  not  alone  and  wanted  to  run 
upstairs.  She  suppressed  this  strong  urge  but  felt  very 
uncomfortable.  Another  evening,  her  husband  was  down 
there  practicing  a speech  when  he  also  felt  the  presence  of 
another.  His  self-control  was  not  as  strong  as  hers,  and  he 
came  upstairs.  In  discussing  their  strange  feelings  with 
their  next-door  neighbor,  they  discovered  that  the  previous 
tenant  had  also  complained  about  the  basement.  Their 
daughter,  Rita,  had  never  wanted  to  go  to  the  basement  by 
herself  and,  when  pressed  for  a reason,  finally  admitted 
that  there  was  a man  down  there.  She  described  him  as 
dark-haired  and  wearing  a plaid  shirt. 

Sometimes  he  would  stand  by  her  bed  at  night  and 
she  would  become  frightened,  but  the  moment  she  thought 
of  calling  her  mother,  the  image  disappeared.  Another  spot 
where  she  felt  his  presence  was  the  little  playhouse  at  the 
other  end  of  their  yard. 

The  following  spring,  Mrs.  Eidson  noticed  a bouncing 
light  at  the  top  of  the  stairs  as  she  was  about  to  go  to 

CHAPTER  FOUR:  What  Exactly  Is  a Ghost? 


bed  in  an  upstairs  room,  which  she  was  occupying  while 
convalescing  from  surgery. 

The  light  followed  her  to  her  room  as  if  it  had  a 
mind  of  its  own! 

When  she  entered  her  room  the  light  left,  but  the 
room  felt  icy.  She  was  disturbed  by  this,  but  nevertheless 
went  to  bed  and  soon  had  forgotten  all  about  it  as  sleep 
came  to  her.  Suddenly,  in  the  middle  of  the  night,  she 
woke  and  sat  up  in  bed. 

Something  had  awakened  her.  At  the  foot  of  her  bed 
she  saw  a man  who  was  “beige -colored,”  as  she  put  it.  As 
she  stared  at  the  apparition  it  went  away,  again  leaving  the 
room  very  chilly. 

About  that  same  time,  the  Eidsons  noticed  that  their 
electric  appliances  were  playing  tricks  on  them.  There  was 
the  time  at  5 A.M.  when  their  washing  machine  went  on  by 
itself,  as  did  the  television  set  in  the  basement,  which  could 
only  be  turned  on  by  plugging  it  into  the  wall  socket. 

When  they  had  gone  to  bed,  the  set  was  off  and  there  was 
no  one  around  to  plug  it  in. 

Who  was  so  fond  of  electrical  gadgets  that  they  were 
turning  them  on  in  the  small  hours  of  the  morning? 

Finally  Mrs.  Eidson  found  out.  In  May  of  1949,  a 
young  man  who  was  just  out  of  the  service  had  occupied 
the  house.  His  hobby  had  been  electrical  wiring,  it  seems, 
for  he  had  installed  a strand  of  heavy  wires  from  the  base- 
ment underground  through  the  yard  to  the  other  end  of  the 
property.  When  he  attempted  to  hook  them  up  to  the  util- 
ity pole  belonging  to  the  electric  company,  he  was  killed 
instantly.  It  happened  near  the  place  where  Mrs.  Eidson ’s 
girl  had  seen  the  apparition.  Since  the  wires  are  still  in  her 
garden,  Mrs.  Eidson  is  not  at  all  surprised  that  the  dead 
man  likes  to  hang  around. 

And  what  better  way  for  an  electronics  buff  to  mani- 
fest himself  as  a ghost  than  by  appearing  as  a bright, 
bouncy  light?  As  of  this  writing,  the  dead  electrician  is  still 
playing  tricks  in  the  Eidson  home,  and  Mrs.  Eidson  is 
looking  for  a new  home — one  a little  less  unusual  than 
their  present  one. 

* * * 

Eileen  Courtis  is  forty-seven  years  old,  a native  of 
London,  and  a well-balanced  individual  who  now  resides 
on  the  West  coast  but  who  lived  previously  in  New  York 
City.  Although  she  has  never  gone  to  college,  she  has  a 
good  grasp  of  things,  an  analytical  mind,  and  is  not  given 
to  hysterics.  When  she  arrived  in  New  York  at  age  thirty - 
four,  she  decided  to  look  for  a quiet  hotel  and  then  search 
for  a job. 

The  job  turned  out  to  be  an  average  office  position, 
and  the  hotel  she  decided  upon  was  the  Martha  Washing- 
ton, which  was  a hotel  for  women  only  on  Twenty-Ninth 
Street.  Eileen  was  essentially  shy  and  a loner  who  only 
made  friends  slowly. 

She  was  given  a room  on  the  twelfth  floor  and, 
immediately  on  crossing  the  threshold,  she  was  struck  by  a 


48 


foul  odor  coming  from  the  room.  Her  first  impulse  was  to 
ask  for  another  room,  but  she  was  in  no  mood  to  create  a 
fuss  so  she  stayed. 

"I  can  stand  it  a night  or  two,”  she  thought,  but  did 
not  unpack.  It  turned  out  that  she  stayed  in  that  room  for 
six  long  months,  and  yet  she  never  really  unpacked. 

Now  all  her  life,  Eileen  had  been  having  various 
experiences  that  involved  extrasensory  perception,  and  her 
first  impression  of  her  new  “home”  was  that  someone  had 
died  in  it.  She  examined  the  walls  inch  by  inch.  There  was 
a spot  where  a crucifix  must  have  hung  for  a long  time, 
judging  by  the  color  of  the  surrounding  wall.  Evidently  it 
had  been  removed  when  someone  moved  out. . .perm- 
anently. 

That  first  night,  after  she  had  gone  to  bed,  her  sleep 
was  interrupted  by  what  sounded  like  the  turning  of  a 
newspaper  page.  It  sounded  exactly  as  if  someone  were  sit- 
ting in  the  chair  at  the  foot  of  her  bed  reading  a newspaper. 
Quickly  she  switched  on  the  light  and  she  was,  of 
course,  quite  alone.  Were  her  nerves  playing  tricks  on  her? 
It  was  a strange  city,  a strange  room.  She  decided  to  go 
back  to  sleep.  Immediately,  the  rustling  started  up  again, 
and  then  someone  began  walking  across  the  floor,  starting 
from  the  chair  and  heading  toward  the  door. 

Eileen  turned  on  every  light  in  the  room  and  it 
stopped.  Exhausted,  she  dozed  off  again.  The  next  morn- 
ing she  looked  over  the  room  carefully.  Perhaps  mice  had 
caused  the  strange  rustling.  The  strange  odor  remained,  so 
she  requested  that  the  room  be  fumigated.  The  manager 
smiled  wryly,  and  nobody  came  to  fumigate  her  room. 

The  rustling  noise  continued,  night  after  night,  and  Eileen 
slept  with  the  lights  on  for  the  next  three  weeks. 

Somehow  her  ESP  told  her  this  presence  was  a strong- 
willed,  vicious  old  woman  who  resented  others  occupying 
what  she  still  considered  "her”  room.  Eileen  decided  to 
fight  her.  Night  after  night,  she  braved  it  out  in  the  dark, 
only  to  find  herself  totally  exhausted  in  the  morning.  Her 
appearance  at  the  office  gave  rise  to  talk.  But  she  was  not 
going  to  give  in  to  a ghost.  Side  by  side,  the  living  and  the 
dead  now  occupied  the  same  room  without  sharing  it. 

Then  one  night,  something  prevented  her  from  going 
off  to  sleep.  She  lay  in  bed  quietly,  waiting. 

Suddenly  she  became  aware  of  two  skinny  but  very 
strong  arms  extended  over  her  head,  holding  a large  downy 
pillow  as  though  to  suffocate  her! 

It  took  every  ounce  of  her  strength  to  force  the  pillow 
off  her  face. 

Next  morning,  she  tried  to  pass  it  off  as  a hallucina- 
tion. But  was  it?  She  was  quite  sure  that  she  had  not  been 
asleep. 

But  still  she  did  not  move  out,  and  one  evening  when 
she  arrived  home  from  the  office  with  a friend,  she  felt  a 
sudden  pain  in  her  back,  as  if  she  had  been  stabbed.  Dur- 
ing the  night,  she  awoke  to  find  herself  in  a state  of  utter 
paralysis.  She  could  not  move  her  limbs  or  head.  Finally, 
after  a long  time,  she  managed  to  work  her  way  to  the  tele- 


phone receiver  and  call  for  a doctor.  Nobody  came.  But  her 
control  started  to  come  back  and  she  called  her  friend,  who 
rushed  over  only  to  find  Eileen  in  a state  of  shock. 

During  the  next  few  days  she  had  a thorough  exami- 
nation by  the  company  physician  which  included  the  taking 
of  X-rays  to  determine  if  there  was  anything  physically 
wrong  with  her  that  could  have  caused  this  condition.  She 
was  given  a clean  bill  of  health  and  her  strength  had  by 
then  returned,  so  she  decided  to  quit  while  she  was  ahead. 

She  went  to  Florida  for  an  extended  rest,  but  eventu- 
ally came  back  to  New  York  and  the  hotel.  This  time  she 
was  given  another  room,  where  she  lived  very  happily  and 
without  incident  for  over  a year. 

One  day  a neighbor  who  knew  her  from  the  time  she 
had  occupied  the  room  on  the  twelfth  floor  saw  her  in  the 
lobby  and  insisted  on  having  a visit  with  her.  Reluctantly, 
for  she  is  not  fond  of  socializing,  Eileen  agreed.  The  con- 
versation covered  various  topics  until  suddenly  the  neigh- 
bor came  out  with  “the  time  you  were  living  in  that  haunt- 
ed room  across  the  hall.” 

Since  Eileen  had  never  told  anyone  of  her  fearsome 
experiences  there,  she  was  puzzled.  The  neighbor  confessed 
that  she  had  meant  to  warn  her  while  she  was  occupying 
that  room,  but  somehow  never  had  mustered  enough 
courage.  “Warn  me  of  what?”  Eileen  insisted. 

“The  woman  who  had  the  room  just  before  you 
moved  in,”  the  neighbor  explained  haltingly,  “well,  she  was 
found  dead  in  the  chair,  and  the  woman  who  had  it  before 
her  also  was  found  dead  in  the  bathtub.” 

Eileen  swallowed  quickly  and  left.  Suddenly  she  knew 
that  the  pillowcase  had  not  been  a hallucination. 

* * * 

The  Buxhoeveden  family  is  one  of  the  oldest  noble 
families  of  Europe,  related  to  a number  of  royal  houses  and 
— since  the  eighteenth  century,  when  one  of  the  counts 
married  the  daughter  of  Catherine  the  Great  of  Russia — 
also  to  the  Russian  Imperial  family.  The  family  seat  was 
Lode  Castle  on  the  island  of  Eesel,  off  the  coast  of  Estonia. 
The  castle,  which  is  still  standing,  is  a very  ancient  build- 
ing with  a round  tower  set  somewhat  apart  from  the  main 
building.  Its  Soviet  occupants  have  since  turned  it  into  a 
museum. 

The  Buxhoevedens  acquired  it  when  Frederick 
William  Buxhoeveden  married  Natalie  of  Russia;  it  was  a 
gift  from  mother-in-law  Catherine. 

Thus  it  was  handed  down  from  first-born  son  to 
first-born  son,  until  it  came  to  be  in  the  hands  of  an  earlier 
Count  Anatol  Buxhoeveden.  The  time  was  the  beginning 
of  this  century,  and  all  was  right  with  the  world. 

Estonia  was  a Russian  province,  so  it  was  not  out  of 
the  ordinary  that  Russian  regiments  should  hold  war  games 
in  the  area.  On  one  occasion,  when  the  maneuvers  were  in 
full  swing,  the  regimental  commander  requested  that  his 

What  Exactly  Is  a Ghost? 


49 


officers  be  put  up  at  the  castle.  The  soldiers  were  located  in 
the  nearby  town,  but  five  of  the  staff  officers  came  to  stay 
at  Lode  Castle.  Grandfather  Buxhoeveden  was  the  perfect 
host,  but  was  unhappy  that  he  could  not  accommodate  all 
five  in  the  main  house.  The  fifth  man  would  have  to  be 
satisfied  with  quarters  in  the  tower.  Since  the  tower  had  by 
then  acquired  a reputation  of  being  haunted,  he  asked  for  a 
volunteer  to  stay  in  that  particular  room. 

There  was  a great  deal  of  teasing  about  the  haunted 
room  before  the  youngest  of  the  officers  volunteered  and 
left  for  his  quarters. 

The  room  seemed  cozy  enough,  and  the  young  officer 
congratulated  himself  for  having  chosen  so  quiet  and 
pleasant  a place  to  spend  the  night  after  a hard  day's 
maneuvers. 

He  was  tired  and  got  into  bed  right  away.  But  he  was 
too  tired  to  fall  asleep  quickly,  so  he  took  a book  from  one 
of  the  shelves  lining  the  walls,  lit  the  candle  on  his  night 
table,  and  began  to  read. 

As  he  did  so,  he  suddenly  became  aware  of  a greenish 
light  on  the  opposite  side  of  the  room.  As  he  looked  at 
the  light  with  astonishment,  it  changed  before  his  eyes  into 
the  shape  of  a woman.  She  seemed  solid  enough.  To  his 
horror,  she  came  over  to  his  bed,  took  him  by  the  hand, 
and  demanded  that  he  follow  her.  Somehow  he  could  not 
resist  her  commands,  even  though  not  a single  word  was 
spoken.  He  followed  her  down  the  stairs  into  the  library  of 
the  castle  itself.  There  she  made  signs  indicating  that  he 
was  to  remove  the  carpet.  Without  questioning  her,  he 
flipped  back  the  rug.  She  then  pointed  at  a trap  door  that 
was  underneath  the  carpet.  He  opened  the  door  and  fol- 
lowed the  figure  down  a flight  of  stairs  until  they  came  to  a 
big  iron  door  that  barred  their  progress.  The  figure  pointed 
to  a corner  of  the  floor,  and  he  dug  into  it.  There  he  found 
a key,  perhaps  ten  inches  long,  and  with  it  he  opened  the 
iron  gate.  He  now  found  himself  in  a long  corridor  that  led 
to  a circular  room.  From  there  another  corridor  led  on  and 
again  he  followed  eagerly,  wondering  what  this  was  all 
about. 

This  latter  corridor  suddenly  opened  onto  another 
circular  room  that  seemed  familiar — he  was  back  in  his 
own  room.  The  apparition  was  gone. 

What  did  it  all  mean?  He  sat  up  trying  to  figure  it 
out,  and  when  he  finally  dozed  off  it  was  already  dawn. 
Consequently,  he  overslept  and  came  down  to  breakfast 
last.  His  state  of  excitement  immediately  drew  the  attention 
of  the  count  and  his  fellow  officers.  “You  won’t  believe 
this,”  he  began  and  told  them  what  had  happened  to  him. 

He  was  right.  Nobody  believed  him. 

But  his  insistence  that  he  was  telling  the  truth  was  so 
convincing  that  the  count  finally  agreed,  more  to  humor 
him  than  because  he  believed  him,  to  follow  the  young 
officer  to  the  library  to  look  for  the  alleged  trap  door. 


CHAPTER  FOUR:  What  Exactly  Is  a Ghost? 


“But,"  he  added,  “I  must  tell  you  that  on  top  of  that 
carpet  are  some  heavy  bookshelves  filled  with  books  which 
have  not  been  moved  or  touched  in  over  a hundred  years. 

It  is  quite  impossible  for  any  one  man  to  flip  back  that 
carpet.” 

They  went  to  the  library,  and  just  as  the  count  had 
said,  the  carpet  could  not  be  moved.  But  Grandfather  Bux- 
hoeveden decided  to  follow  through  anyway  and  called  in 
some  of  his  men.  Together,  ten  men  were  able  to  move  the 
shelves  and  turn  the  carpet  back.  Underneath  the  carpet 
was  a dust  layer  an  inch  thick,  but  it  did  not  stop  the 
intrepid  young  officer  from  looking  for  the  ring  of  the  trap 
door.  After  a long  search  for  it,  he  finally  located  it.  A 
hush  fell  over  the  group  when  he  pulled  the  trap  door 
open.  There  was  the  secret  passage  and  the  iron  gate.  And 
there,  next  to  it,  was  a rusty  iron  key.  The  key  fit  the  lock. 
The  gate,  which  had  not  moved  for  centuries  perhaps, 
slowly  and  painfully  swung  open,  and  the  little  group  con- 
tinued its  exploration  of  the  musty  passages.  With  the  offi- 
cer leading,  the  men  went  through  the  corridors  and  came 
out  in  the  tower  room,  just  as  the  officer  had  done  during 
the  night. 

But  what  did  it  mean?  Everyone  knew  there  were 
secret  passages — lots  of  old  castles  had  them  as  a hedge  in 
times  of  war. 

The  matter  gradually  faded  from  memory,  and  life  at 
Lode  went  on.  The  iron  key,  however,  was  preserved  and 
remained  in  the  Buxhoeveden  family  until  some  years  ago, 
when  it  was  stolen  from  Count  Alexander’s  Paris 
apartment. 

Ten  years  went  by,  until,  after  a small  fire  in  the  cas- 
tle, Count  Buxhoeveden  decided  to  combine  the  necessary 
repairs  with  the  useful  installation  of  central  heating,  some- 
thing old  castles  always  need.  The  contractor  doing  the  job 
brought  in  twenty  men  who  worked  hard  to  restore  and 
improve  the  appointments  at  Lode.  Then  one  day,  the 
entire  crew  vanished — like  ghosts.  Count  Buxhoeveden 
reported  this  to  the  police,  who  were  already  besieged  by 
the  wives  and  families  of  the  men  who  had  disappeared 
without  leaving  a trace. 

Newspapers  of  the  period  had  a field  day  with  the 
case  of  the  vanishing  workmen,  but  the  publicity  did  not 
help  to  bring  them  back,  and  the  puzzle  remained. 

Then  came  the  revolution  and  the  Buxhoevedens  lost 
their  ancestral  home,  Count  Alexander  and  the  present 
Count  Anatol,  my  brother-in-law,  went  to  live  in  Switzer- 
land. The  year  was  1923.  One  day  the  two  men  were  walk- 
ing down  a street  in  Lausanne  when  a stranger  approached 
them,  calling  Count  Alexander  by  name. 

“I  am  the  brother  of  the  major  domo  of  your  castle," 
the  man  explained.  “I  was  a plumber  on  that  job  of  restor- 
ing it  after  the  fire." 

So  much  time  had  passed  and  so  many  political 
events  had  changed  the  map  of  Europe  that  the  man  was 
ready  at  last  to  lift  the  veil  of  secrecy  from  the  case  of  the 
vanishing  workmen. 


50 


This  is  the  story  he  told:  when  the  men  were  digging 
trenches  for  the  central  heating  system,  they  accidentally 
came  across  an  iron  kettle  of  the  kind  used  in  the  Middle 
Ages  to  pour  boiling  oil  or  water  on  the  enemies  besieging 
a castle.  Yet  this  pot  was  not  full  of  water,  but  rather  of 
gold.  They  had  stumbled  onto  the  long-missing  Buxhoeve- 
den  treasure,  a hoard  reputed  to  have  existed  for  centuries, 
which  never  had  been  found.  Now,  with  this  stroke  of 
good  fortune,  the  workmen  became  larcenous.  They  opted 
for  distributing  the  find  among  themselves,  even  though  it 
meant  leaving  everything  behind — their  families,  their 
homes,  their  work — and  striking  out  fresh  somewhere  else. 
But  the  treasure  was  large  enough  to  make  this  a pleasure 
rather  than  a problem,  and  they  never  missed  their  wives, 
it  would  seem,  finding  ample  replacements  in  the  gentler 
climes  of  western  Europe,  where  most  of  them  went  to  live 
under  assumed  names. 

At  last  the  apparition  that  had  appeared  to  the  young 
officer  made  sense:  it  had  been  an  ancestor  who  wanted  to 
let  her  descendants  know  where  the  family  gold  had  been 
secreted.  What  a frustration  for  a ghost  to  see  her  efforts 
come  to  naught,  and  worse  yet,  to  see  the  fortune  squan- 
dered by  thieves  while  the  legal  heirs  had  to  go  into  exile. 
Who  knows  how  things  might  have  tuned  out  for  the  Bux- 
hoevedens  if  they  had  gotten  to  the  treasure  in  time. 

At  any  rate  there  is  a silver  lining  to  this  account: 
since  there  is  nothing  further  to  find  at  Lode  Castle,  the 
ghost  does  not  have  to  put  in  appearances  under  that  new 
regime.  But  Russian  aristocrats  and  English  lords  of  the 
manor  have  no  corner  on  uncanny  phenomena.  Nor  are  all 
of  the  haunted  settings  I have  encountered  romantic  or  for- 
bidding. Certainly  there  are  more  genuine  ghostly  manifes- 
tations in  the  American  Midwest  and  South  than  anywhere 
else  in  the  world.  This  may  be  due  to  the  fact  that  a great 
deal  of  violence  occurred  there  during  the  nineteenth  and 
early  twentieth  centuries.  Also,  the  American  public’s  atti- 
tude toward  such  phenomena  is  different  from  that  of 
Europeans.  In  Europe,  people  are  inclined  to  reserve  their 
accounts  of  bona  fide  ghosts  for  those  people  they  can 
trust.  Being  ridiculed  is  not  a favorite  pastime  of  most 
Europeans. 

Americans,  by  contrast,  are  more  independent.  They 
couldn’t  care  less  what  others  think  of  them  in  the  long 
run,  so  long  as  their  own  people  believe  them.  I have 
approached  individuals  in  many  cases  with  an  assurance  of 
scientific  inquiry  and  respect  for  their  stories.  I am  not  a 
skeptic.  I am  a searcher  for  the  truth,  regardless  of  what 
this  truth  looks  or  sounds  like. 

Some  time  ago,  a well-known  TV  personality  took 
issue  with  me  concerning  my  conviction  that  ESP  and 
ghosts  are  real.  Since  he  was  not  well  informed  on  the  sub- 
ject, he  should  not  have  ventured  forth  into  an  area  I know 
so  well.  He  proudly  proclaimed  himself  a skeptic. 

Irritated,  I finally  asked  him  if  he  knew  what  being  a 
skeptic  meant.  He  shook  his  head. 


"The  term  skeptic,"  I lectured  him  patiently,  “is 
derived  from  the  Greek  word  skepsis,  which  was  the  name 
of  a small  town  in  Asia  Minor  in  antiquity.  It  was  known 
for  its  lack  of  knowledge,  and  people  from  skepsis  were 
called  skeptics.” 

The  TV  personality  didn’t  like  it  at  all,  but  the  next 
time  we  met  on  camera,  he  was  a lot  more  human  and  his 
humanity  finally  showed. 

* * * 

I once  received  a curious  letter  from  a Mrs.  Stewart 
living  in  Chicago,  Illinois,  in  which  she  explained  that  she 
was  living  with  a ghost  and  didn’t  mind,  except  that  she 
had  lost  two  children  at  birth  and  this  ghost  was  following 
not  only  her  but  also  her  little  girl.  This  she  didn’t  like,  so 
could  I please  come  and  look  into  the  situation? 

I could  and  did.  On  July  4, 1 celebrated  Indepen- 
dence Day  by  trying  to  free  a hung-up  lady  ghost  on 
Chicago’s  South  Side.  The  house  itself  was  an  old  one, 
built  around  the  late  1 800s,  and  not  exactly  a monument  of 
architectural  beauty.  But  its  functional  sturdiness  suited  its 
present  purpose — to  house  a number  of  young  couples  and 
their  children,  people  who  found  the  house  both  convenient 
and  economical. 

In  its  heyday,  it  had  been  a wealthy  home,  complete 
with  servants  and  a set  of  backstairs  for  the  servants  to  go 
up  and  down  on.  The  three  stories  are  even  now  connected 
by  an  elaborate  buzzer  system  which  hasn’t  worked  for 
years. 

I did  not  wish  to  discuss  the  phenomena  at  the  house 
with  Mrs.  Stewart  until  after  Sybil  Leek,  who  was  with  me, 
had  had  a chance  to  explore  the  situation.  My  good  friend 
Carl  Subak,  a stamp  dealer,  had  come  along  to  see  how  I 
worked.  He  and  I had  known  each  other  thirty  years  ago 
when  we  were  both  students,  and  because  of  that  he  had 
overcome  his  own — ah — skepticism — and  decided  to 
accompany  me.  Immediately  upon  arrival,  Sybil  ascended 
the  stairs  to  the  second  floor  as  if  she  knew  where  to  go! 

Of  course  she  didn’t;  I had  not  discussed  the  matter  with 
her  at  all.  But  despite  this  promising  beginning,  she  drew  a 
complete  blank  when  we  arrived  at  the  upstairs  apartment. 
“I  feel  absolutely  nothing,”  she  confided  and  looked  at  me 
doubtfully.  Had  I made  a mistake?  She  seemed  to  ask.  On 
a hot  July  day,  had  we  come  all  the  way  to  the  South  Side 
of  Chicago  on  a wild  ghost  chase? 

We  gathered  in  a bedroom  that  contained  a comfort- 
able chair  and  had  windows  on  both  sides  that  looked  out 
onto  an  old-fashioned  garden;  there  was  a porch  on  one 
side  and  a parkway  on  the  other.  The  furniture,  in  keeping 
with  the  modest  economic  circumstances  of  the  owners, 
was  old  and  worn,  but  it  was  functional  and  the  inhabitants 
did  not  seem  to  mind. 

In  a moment,  Sybil  Leek  had  slipped  into  trance.  But 
instead  of  a ghost’s  personality,  the  next  voice  we  heard 

What  Exactly  Is  a Ghost? 


51 


was  Sybil’s  own,  although  it  sounded  strange.  Sybil  was 
“out"  of  her  own  body,  but  able  to  observe  the  place  and 
report  back  to  us  while  still  in  trance. 

The  first  thing  she  saw  were  maps,  in  a large  round 
building  somehow  connected  with  the  house  we  were  in. 
"Is  there  anyone  around?”  I asked. 

“Yes,”  Sybil  intoned,  “James  Dugan.” 

“What  does  he  do  here?” 

“Come  back  to  live." 

“When  was  that?” 

"1912.” 

“Is  there  anyone  with  him?” 

“There  is  another  man.  McCloud.” 

“Anyone  else?” 

“Lots  of  people.” 

“Do  they  live  in  this  house?” 

“Three,  four  people. . .McCloud. . .maps. . 

“All  men?” 

“No . . . girl . . .Judith . . . maidservant ...” 

“Is  there  an  unhappy  presence  here?” 

“Judith. . .she  had  no  one  here,  no  family. . .that  man 
went  away. . .Dugan  went  away.. .” 

“How  is  she  connected  with  this  Dugan?” 

"Loved  him?” 

"Were  they  married?” 

“No.  Lovers.” 

"Did  they  have  any  children?” 

There  was  a momentary  silence,  then  Sybil  continued 
in  a drab,  monotonous  voice. 

"The  baby’s  dead.” 

“Does  she  know  the  baby’s  dead?” 

“She  cries.  ..baby  cries. . .neglected. . .by 
Judith...  guilty...” 

"Does  Judith  know  this?” 

“Yes.” 

“How  old  was  the  baby  when  it  died?” 

“A  few  weeks  old.” 

Strange,  I thought,  that  Mrs.  Stewart  had  fears  for 
her  own  child  from  this  source.  She,  too,  had  lost  children 
at  a tender  age. 

“What  happened  to  the  baby?” 

“She  put  it  down  the  steps.” 

“What  happened  to  the  body  then?” 

“I  don't  know.” 

“Is  Judith  still  here?” 

“She’s  here.” 

“Where?" 

“This  room. . .and  up  and  down  the  steps.  She’s 
sorry  for  her  baby.” 

“Can  you  talk  to  her?” 

“No.  She  cannot  leave  here  until  she  finds — You  see 
if  she  could  get  Dugan — ” 

“Where  is  Dugan?” 

"With  the  maps.” 

CHAPTER  FOUR:  What  Exactly  Is  a Ghost? 


“What  is  Dugan’s  work?” 

"Has  to  do  with  roads.” 

“Is  he  dead?” 

“Yes.  She  wants  him  here,  but  he  is  not  here.” 

“How  did  she  die?” 

"She  ran  away  to  the  water. . .died  by  the 
water. . .but  is  here  where  she  lived. . .baby  died  on  the 
steps. . .downstairs. . . ” 

"What  is  she  doing  here,  I mean  how  does  she  let 
people  know  she  is  around?” 

“She  pulls  things.. .she  cries..." 

“And  her  Christian  name?” 

“Judith  Vincent,  I think.  Twenty-one.  Darkish,  not 
white.  From  an  island.” 

“And  the  man?  Is  he  white?” 

“Yes.” 

“Can  you  see  her?” 

“Yes.” 

"Speak  to  her?” 

“She  doesn’t  want  to,  but  perhaps. . . ” 

"What  year  does  she  think  this  is?” 

"1913.” 

“Tell  her  this  is  the  year  1965.” 

Sybil  informed  the  spirit  in  a low  voice  that  this  was 
1965  and  she  need  not  stay  here  any  longer,  that  Dugan 
was  dead,  too. 

“She  has  to  find  him,”  Sybil  explained  and  I directed 
her  to  explain  that  she  need  only  call  out  for  her  lover  in 
order  to  be  reunited  with  him  “Over  There.” 

“She's  gone. . . ” Sybil  finally  said,  and  breathed 
deeply. 

A moment  later  she  woke  up  and  looked  with  aston- 
ishment at  the  strange  room,  having  completely  forgotten 
how  we  got  here,  or  where  we  were. 

There  was  no  time  for  explanations  now,  as  I still 
wanted  to  check  out  some  of  this  material.  The  first  one  to 
sit  down  with  me  was  the  owner  of  the  flat,  Mrs.  Alexan- 
der Stewart.  A graduate  of  the  University  of  Iowa,  twenty- 
five  years  old,  Alexandra  Stewart  works  as  a personnel 
director.  She  had  witnessed  the  trance  session  and  seemed 
visibly  shaken.  There  was  a good  reason  for  this.  Mrs. 
Stewart,  you  see,  had  met  the  ghost  Sybil  had  described. 

The  Stewarts  had  moved  into  the  second-floor  apart- 
ment in  the  winter  of  1964.  The  room  we  were  now  sitting 
in  had  been  hers.  Shortly  after  they  moved  in,  Mrs.  Stewart 
happened  to  be  glancing  up  toward  the  French  doors,  when 
she  saw  a woman  looking  at  her.  The  figure  was  about  five 
feet  three  or  four,  and  wore  a blue-gray  dress  with  a shawl, 
and  a hood  over  her  head,  so  that  Mr.  Stewart  could  not 
make  out  the  woman’s  features.  The  head  seemed  strangely 
bowed  to  her,  almost  as  if  the  woman  were  doing  penance. 

I questioned  Mrs.  Stewart  on  the  woman’s  color  in 
view  of  Sybil’s  description  of  Judith.  But  Mrs.  Stewart 
could  not  be  sure;  the  woman  could  have  been  white  or 
black.  At  the  time,  Mrs.  Stewart  had  assumed  it  to  be  a 


52 


reflection  from  the  mirror,  but  when  she  glanced  at  the 
mirror,  she  did  not  see  the  figure  in  it. 

When  she  turned  her  attention  back  to  the  figure,  it 
had  disappeared.  It  was  toward  evening  and  Mrs.  Stewart 
was  a little  tired,  yet  the  figure  was  very  real  to  her.  Her 
doubts  were  completely  dispelled  when  the  ghost  returned 
about  a month  later.  In  the  meantime  she  had  moved  the 
dresser  that  formerly  stood  in  the  line  of  sight  farther 
down,  so  that  the  explanation  of  the  reflection  would  sim- 
ply not  hold  water.  Again  the  figure  appeared  at  the 
French  doors.  She  looked  very  unhappy  to  Mrs.  Stewart, 
who  felt  herself  strangely  drawn  to  the  woman,  almost  as  if 
she  should  help  her  in  some  way  as  yet  unknown. 

But  the  visual  visitations  were  not  all  that  disturbed 
the  Stewarts.  Soon  they  were  hearing  strange  noises,  too. 
Above  all,  there  was  the  crying  of  a baby,  which  seemed  to 
come  from  the  second-floor  rear  bedroom.  It  could  also  be 
heard  in  the  kitchen,  though  it  was  less  loud  there,  and 
seemed  to  come  from  the  walls.  Several  people  had  heard  it 
and  there  was  no  natural  cause  to  account  for  it.  Then 
there  were  the  footsteps.  It  sounded  like  someone  walking 
down  the  back-stairs,  the  servant’s  stairs,  step  by  step,  hes- 
itatingly, and  not  returning,  but  just  fading  away! 

They  dubbed  their  ghostly  guest  "Elizabeth,”  for 
want  of  a better  name.  Mrs.  Stewart  did  not  consider  her- 
self psychic,  nor  did  she  have  any  interest  in  such  matters. 
But  occasionally  things  had  happened  to  her  that  defied 
natural  explanations,  such  as  the  time  just  after  she  had 
lost  a baby.  She  awoke  form  a heavy  sleep  to  the  intangible 
feeling  of  a presence  in  her  room.  She  looked  up  and  there, 
in  the  rocking  chair  across  the  room,  she  saw  a woman, 
now  dead,  who  had  taken  care  of  her  when  she  herself  was 
a child.  Rocking  gently  in  the  chair,  as  if  to  reassure  her, 
the  Nanny  held  Mrs.  Stewart’s  baby  in  her  arms.  In  a 
moment  the  vision  was  gone,  but  it  had  left  Alexandra 
Stewart  with  a sense  of  peace.  She  knew  her  little  one  was 
well  looked  after. 

The  phenomena  continued,  however,  and  soon  they 
were  no  longer  restricted  to  the  upstairs.  On  the  first  floor, 
in  the  living  room,  Mrs.  Stewart  heard  the  noise  of  some- 
one breathing  close  to  her.  This  had  happened  only 
recently,  again  in  the  presence  of  her  husband  and  a friend. 
She  asked  them  to  hold  their  breath  for  a moment,  and  still 
she  heard  the  strange  breathing  continuing  as  before.  Nei- 
ther of  the  men  could  hear  it,  or  so  they  said.  But  the  fol- 
lowing day  the  guest  came  back  with  another  man.  He 
wanted  to  be  sure  of  his  observation  before  admitting  that 
he  too  had  heard  the  invisible  person  breathing  close  to 
him. 

The  corner  of  the  living  room  where  the  breathing 
had  been  heard  was  also  the  focal  point  for  strange  knock  - 
ings  that  faulty  pipes  could  not  explain.  On  one  occasion 
they  heard  the  breaking  of  glass,  and  yet  there  was  no  evi- 
dence that  any  glass  had  been  broken.  There  was  a feeling 
that  someone  other  than  those  visible  was  present  at  times 


in  their  living  room,  and  it  made  them  a little  nervous  even 
though  they  did  not  fear  their  “Elizabeth.” 

Alexandra’s  young  husband  had  grown  up  in  the 
building  trade,  and  now  works  as  a photographer.  He  too 
has  heard  the  footsteps  on  many  occasions,  and  he  knows 
the  difference  between  footsteps  and  a house  settling  or 
timbers  creaking.  These  were  definitely  human  noises. 

Mrs.  Martha  Vaughn  is  a bookkeeper  who  had  been 
living  in  the  building  for  two  years.  Hers  is  the  apartment 
in  the  rear  portion  of  the  second  floor,  and  it  includes  the 
back  porch.  Around  Christmas  of  1964  she  heard  a baby 
crying  on  the  porch.  It  was  a particularly  cold  night,  so  she 
went  to  investigate  immediately.  It  was  a weird,  unearthly 
sound — to  her  it  seemed  right  near  the  porch,  but  there 
was  nobody  around.  The  yard  was  deserted.  The  sound  to 
her  was  the  crying  of  a small  child,  not  a baby,  but  per- 
haps a child  of  between  one  and  three  years  of  age.  The 
various  families  shared  the  downstairs  living  room  "like  a 
kibbutz,”  as  Mrs.  Stewart  put  it,  so  it  was  not  out  of  the 
ordinary  for  several  people  to  be  in  the  downstairs  area.  On 
one  such  occasion  Mrs.  Vaughn  also  heard  the  breaking  of 
the  invisible  glass. 

Richard  Vaughn  is  a laboratory  technician.  He  too 
has  heard  the  baby  cry  and  the  invisible  glass  break;  he  has 
heard  pounding  on  the  wall,  as  have  the  others.  A skeptic 
at  first,  he  tried  to  blame  these  noises  on  the  steam  pipes 
that  heat  the  house.  But  when  he  listened  to  the  pipes 
when  they  were  acting  up,  he  realized  at  once  that  the 
noises  he  had  heard  before  were  completely  different. 

“What  about  a man  named  Dugan?  Or  someone  hav- 
ing to  do  with  maps?”  I asked. 

“Well,”  Vaughn  said,  and  thought  back,  “I  used  to 
get  mail  here  for  people  who  once  lived  here,  and  of  course 
I sent  it  all  back  to  the  post  office.  But  I don’t  recall  the 
name  Dugan.  What  I do  recall  was  some  mail  from  a 
Washington  Bureau.  You  see,  this  house  belongs  to  the 
University  of  Chicago  and  a lot  of  professors  used  to  live 
here.” 

“Professors?”  1 said  with  renewed  interest. 

Was  Dugan  one  of  them? 

Several  other  people  who  lived  in  the  house  experi- 
enced strange  phenomena.  Barbara  Madonna,  who  works 
three  days  a week  as  a secretary,  used  to  live  there  too.  But 
in  May  of  that  year  she  moved  out.  She  had  moved  into 
the  house  in  November  of  the  previous  year.  She  and  her 
husband  much  admired  the  back  porch  when  they  first 
moved  in,  and  had  visions  of  sitting  out  there  drinking  a 
beer  on  warm  evenings.  But  soon  their  hopes  were  dashed 
by  the  uncanny  feeling  that  they  were  not  alone,  that 
another  presence  was  in  their  apartment,  and  especially  out 
on  the  porch.  Soon,  instead  of  using  the  porch,  they  stu- 
diously avoided  it,  even  if  it  meant  walking  downstairs  to 
shake  out  a mop.  Theirs  was  the  third-floor  apartment, 
directly  above  the  Stewart  apartment. 

What  Exactly  Is  a Ghost? 


53 


A girl  by  the  name  of  Lolita  Krol  also  had  heard  the 
baby  crying.  She  lived  in  the  building  for  a time  and  bit- 
terly complained  about  the  strange  noises  on  the  porch. 

Douglas  McConnor  is  a magazine  editor,  and  he  and 
his  wife  moved  into  the  building  in  November  of  the  year 
Barbara  Madonna  moved  out,  first  to  the  second  floor  and 
later  to  the  third.  From  the  very  first,  when  McConnor  was 
still  alone — his  wife  joined  him  in  the  flat  after  their  mar- 
riage a little  later — he  felt  extremely  uncomfortable  in  the 
place.  Doors  and  windows  would  fly  open  by  themselves 
when  there  wasn’t  any  strong  wind. 

When  he  moved  upstairs  to  the  next  floor,  things 
were  much  quieter,  except  for  Sunday  nights,  when  noisy 
activities  would  greatly  increase  toward  midnight.  Foot- 
steps, the  sounds  of  people  rushing  about,  and  of  doors 
opening  and  closing  would  disturb  Mr.  McConnor’s  rest. 
The  stairs  were  particularly  noisy.  But  when  he  checked, 
he  found  that  everybody  was  accounted  for,  and  that  no 
living  person  had  caused  the  commotion. 

It  got  to  be  so  bad  he  started  to  hate  Sunday  nights. 

I recounted  Sybil’s  trance  to  Mr.  McConnor  and  the 
fact  that  a woman  named  Judith  had  been  the  central  figure 
of  it. 

"Strange,”  he  observed,  “but  the  story  also  fits  that  of 
my  ex-wife,  who  deserted  her  children.  She  is  of  course 
very  much  alive  now.  Her  name  is  Judith.” 

Had  Sybil  intermingled  the  impression  a dead  maid- 
servant with  the  imprint  left  behind  by  an  unfit  mother? 

Or  were  there  two  Judiths?  At  any  rate  the  Stewarts  did 
not  complain  further  about  uncanny  noises,  and  the  girl  in 
the  blue-gray  dress  never  came  back. 

As  he  drove  as  out  to  the  airport  Carl  Subak  seemed 
unusually  silent.  What  he  had  witnessed  seemed  to  have 
left  an  impression  on  him  and  his  philosophy  of  life. 

“What  I find  so  particularly  upsetting,”  he  finally 
said,  "is  Sybil’s  talking  about  a woman  and  a dead  baby — 
all  of  it  borne  out  afterwards  by  the  people  in  the  house. 

But  Sybil  did  not  know  this.  She  couldn’t  have.” 

No,  she  couldn’t. 

In  September,  three  years  later,  a group  consisting  of 
a local  television  reporter,  a would-be  psychic  student,  and 
an  assortment  of  clairvoyants  descended  on  the  building  in 
search  of  psychic  excitement.  All  they  got  out  of  it  were 
mechanical  difficulties  with  their  cameras.  The  ghosts  were 
long  gone. 

* * * 

Ghosts  are  not  just  for  the  thrill  seekers,  nor  are  they 
the  hallucinations  of  disturbed  people.  Nothing  is  as  demo- 
cratic as  seeing  or  hearing  a ghost,  for  it  happens  all  the 
time,  to  just  about  every  conceivable  type  of  person.  Nei- 
ther age  nor  race  nor  religion  seem  to  stay  these  spectral 
people  in  their  predetermined  haunts. 


CHAPTER  FOUR:  What  Exactly  Is  a Ghost? 


Naturally  I treat  each  case  on  an  individual  basis. 
Some  I reject  on  the  face  of  the  report,  and  others  only 
after  I have  undertaken  a long  and  careful  investigation. 

But  other  reports  have  a ring  of  truth  about  them  and  are 
worthy  of  belief,  even  though  sometimes  they  are  no  longer 
capable  of  verification  because  witnesses  have  died  or  sites 
have  been  destroyed. 

A good  example  is  the  case  reported  to  me  recently 
by  a Mrs.  Edward  Needs,  Jr.,  of  Canton,  Ohio.  In  a small 
town  by  the  name  of  Homeworth,  there  is  a stretch  of  land 
near  the  highway  that  is  today  nothing  more  than  a 
neglected  farm  with  a boarded-up  old  barn  that’s  still 
standing.  The  spot  is  actually  on  a dirt  road,  and  the  near- 
est house  is  half  a mile  away,  with  wooded  territory  in 
between.  This  is  important,  you  see,  for  the  spot  is  isolated 
and  a man  might  die  before  help  could  arrive.  On  rainy 
days,  the  dirt  road  is  impassable.  Mrs.  Needs  has  passed 
the  spot  a number  of  times,  and  does  not  particularly  care 
to  go  there.  Somehow  it  always  gives  her  an  uneasy  feeling. 
Once,  the  Need’s  car  got  stuck  in  the  mud  on  a rainy  day, 
and  they  had  to  drive  through  open  fields  to  get  out. 

It  was  on  that  adventure-filled  ride  that  Mr.  Needs 
confided  for  the  first  time  what  had  happened  to  him  at 
that  spot  on  prior  occasions.  Edward  Needs  and  a friend 
were  on  a joy  ride  after  dark.  At  that  time  Needs  had  not 
yet  married  his  present  wife,  and  the  two  men  had  been 
drinking  a little,  but  were  far  from  drunk.  It  was  then  that 
they  discovered  the  dirt  road  for  the  first  time. 

On  the  spur  of  the  moment,  they  followed  it.  A 
moment  later  they  came  to  the  old  barn.  But  just  as  they 
were  approaching  it,  a man  jumped  out  of  nowhere  in  front 
of  them.  What  was  even  more  sobering  was  the  condition 
this  man  was  in:  he  was  engulfed  in  flames  from  head  to 
toe! 

Quickly  Needs  put  his  bright  headlights  on  the  scene, 
to  see  better.  The  man  then  ran  into  the  woods  across  the 
road,  and  just  disappeared. 

Two  men  never  became  cold  sober  more  quickly. 

They  turned  around  and  went  back  to  the  main  highway 
fast.  But  the  first  chance  they  had,  they  returned  with  two 
carloads  full  of  other  fellows.  They  were  equipped  with 
strong  lights,  guns,  and  absolutely  no  whiskey.  When  the 
first  of  the  cars  was  within  20  feet  of  the  spot  where  Needs 
had  seen  the  apparition,  they  all  saw  the  same  thing:  there 
before  them  was  the  horrible  spectacle  of  a human  being 
blazing  from  top  to  bottom,  and  evidently  suffering  terribly 
as  he  tried  to  run  away  from  his  doom.  Needs  emptied  his 
gun  at  the  figure:  it  never  moved  or  acknowledged  that  it 
had  been  hit  by  the  bullets.  A few  seconds  later,  the  figure 
ran  into  the  woods — exactly  as  it  had  when  Needs  had  first 
encountered  it. 

Now  the  ghost  posse  went  into  the  barn,  which  they 
found  abandoned,  although  not  in  very  bad  condition.  The 
only  strange  thing  was  a cluster  of  spots  showing  evidence 
of  fire:  evidently  someone  or  something  had  burned  inside 
the  barn  without  setting  fire  to  the  barn  as  a whole.  Or  had 
the  fiery  man  run  outside  to  save  his  barn  from  the  fire? 


54 


* * * 

Betty  Ann  Tylaska  lives  in  a seaport  in  Connecticut. 
Her  family  is  a prominent  one  going  back  to  Colonial  days, 
and  they  still  occupy  a house  built  by  her  great -great -great 
-grandfather  for  his  daughter  and  her  husband  back  in 
1807. 

Mrs.  Tylaska  and  her  husband,  a Navy  officer,  were 
in  the  process  of  restoring  the  venerable  old  house  to  its 
former  glory.  Neither  of  them  had  the  slightest  interest  in 
the  supernatural,  and  to  them  such  things  as  ghosts  simply 
did  not  exist  except  in  children’s  tales. 

The  first  time  Mrs.  Tylaska  noticed  anything  unusual 
was  one  night  when  she  was  washing  dishes  in  the  kitchen. 

Suddenly  she  had  the  strong  feeling  that  she  was 
being  watched.  She  turned  around  and  caught  a glimpse  of 
a man  standing  in  the  doorway  between  the  kitchen  and 
the  living  room  of  the  downstairs  part  of  the  house.  She 
saw  him  only  for  a moment,  but  long  enough  to  notice  his 
dark  blue  suit  and  silver  buttons.  Her  first  impression  was 
that  it  must  be  her  husband,  who  of  course  wore  a navy 
blue  uniform.  But  on  checking  she  found  him  upstairs, 
wearing  entirely  different  clothes. 

She  shrugged  the  matter  off  as  a hallucination  due  to 
her  tiredness,  but  the  man  in  blue  kept  returning.  On  sev- 
eral occasions,  the  same  uncanny  feeling  of  being  watched 
came  over  her,  and  when  she  turned  around,  there  was  the 
man  in  the  dark  blue  suit. 

It  came  as  a relief  to  her  when  her  mother  confessed 
that  she  too  had  seen  the  ghostly  visitor — always  at  the 
same  spot,  between  the  living  room  and  kitchen.  Finally 
she  informed  her  husband,  and  to  her  surprise,  he  did  not 
laugh  at  her.  But  he  suggested  that  if  it  were  a ghost,  per- 
haps one  of  her  ancestors  was  checking  up  on  them. 

Perhaps  he  wanted  to  make  sure  they  restored  the 
house  properly  and  did  not  make  any  unwanted  changes. 
They  were  doing  a great  deal  of  painting  in  the  process  of 
restoring  the  house,  and  whatever  paint  was  left  they  would 
spill  against  an  old  stone  wall  at  the  back  of  the  house. 

Gradually  the  old  stones  were  covered  with  paint  of 
various  hues. 

One  day  Mr.  Tylaska  found  himself  in  front  of  these 
stones.  For  want  of  anything  better  to  do  at  the  moment, 
he  started  to  study  them.  To  his  amazement,  he  discovered 
that  one  of  the  stones  was  different  from  the  others:  it  was 
long  and  flat.  He  called  his  wife  and  they  investigated  the 
strange  stone;  upon  freeing  it  from  the  wall,  they  saw  to 
their  horror  that  it  was  a gravestone — her  great -great -great- 
grandfather’s tombstone,  to  be  exact. 

Inquiry  at  the  local  church  cleared  up  the  mystery  of 
how  the  tombstone  had  gotten  out  of  the  cemetery.  It 
seems  that  all  the  family  members  had  been  buried  in  a 
small  cemetery  nearby.  But  when  it  had  filled  up,  a larger 
cemetery  was  started.  The  bodies  were  moved  over  to  the 
new  cemetery  and  a larger  monument  was  erected  over  the 
great-great-great-grandfather’s  tomb.  Since  the  original 
stone  was  of  no  use  any  longer,  it  was  left  behind.  Some- 


how the  stone  got  used  when  the  old  wall  was  being  built. 
But  evidently  great-great-great-grandfather  did  not  like  the 
idea.  Was  that  the  reason  for  his  visits?  After  all,  who  likes 
having  paint  splashed  on  one’s  precious  tombstone?  I ask 
you. 

The  Tylaska  family  held  a meeting  to  decide  what  to 
do  about  it.  They  could  not  very  well  put  two  tombstones 
on  granddad’s  grave.  What  would  the  other  ancestors 
think?  Everybody  would  want  to  have  two  tombstones 
then;  and  while  it  might  be  good  news  to  the  stonecutter,  it 
would  not  be  a thing  to  do  in  practical  New  England. 

So  they  stood  the  old  tombstone  upright  in  their  own 
backyard.  It  was  nice  having  granddad  with  them  that  way, 
and  if  he  felt  like  a visit,  why,  that  was  all  right  with  them 
too. 

From  the  moment  they  gave  the  tombstone  a place  of 
honor,  the  gentleman  in  the  dark  blue  suit  and  the  silver 
buttons  never  came  back.  But  Mrs.  Tylaska  does  not  par- 
ticularly mind.  Two  Navy  men  in  the  house  might  have 
been  too  much  of  a distraction  anyway. 

* * * 

Give  ghosts  their  due,  and  they’ll  be  happy.  Happy 
ghosts  don’t  stay  around:  in  fact,  they  turn  into  normal 
spirits,  free  to  come  and  go  (mostly  go)  at  will.  But  until 
people  come  to  recognize  that  the  denizens  of  the  Other 
World  are  real  people  like  you  and  me,  and  not  benighted 
devils  or  condemned  souls  in  a purgatory  created  for  the 
benefit  of  a political  church,  people  will  be  frightened  of 
them  quite  needlessly.  Sometimes  even  highly  intelligent 
people  shudder  when  they  have  a brush  with  the  uncanny. 

Take  young  Mr.  Bentine,  for  instance,  the  son  of  my 
dear  friend  Michael  Bentine,  the  British  TV  star.  He,  like 
his  father,  is  very  much  interested  in  the  psychic.  But 
young  Bentine  never  bargained  for  firsthand  experiences. 

It  happened  at  school,  Harrow,  one  of  the  finest 
British  “public  schools”  (in  America  they  are  called  private 
schools),  one  spring.  Young  Bentine  lived  in  a dormitory 
known  as  The  Knoll.  One  night  around  2 A.M.,  he  awoke 
from  sound  sleep.  The  silence  of  the  night  was  broken  by 
the  sound  of  footsteps  coming  from  the  headmaster’s  room. 
The  footsteps  went  from  the  room  to  a nearby  bathroom, 
and  then  suddenly  came  to  a halt.  Bentine  thought  nothing 
of  it,  but  why  had  it  awakened  him?  Perhaps  he  had  been 
studying  too  hard  and  it  was  merely  a case  of  nerves.  At 
any  rate,  he  decided  not  to  pay  any  attention  to  the  strange 
footsteps.  After  all,  if  the  headmaster  wished  to  walk  at 
that  ungodly  hour,  it  was  his  business  and  privilege. 

But  the  following  night  the  same  thing  happened. 
Again,  at  2 A.M.  he  found  himself  awake,  to  the  sound  of 
ominous  footsteps.  Again  they  stopped  abruptly  when  they 
reached  the  bathroom.  Coincidence?  Cautious,  young  Ben- 
tine made  some  inquiries.  Was  the  headmaster  given  to 
nocturnal  walks,  perhaps?  He  was  not. 

What  Exactly  Is  a Ghost? 

55 


The  third  night,  Bentine  decided  that  if  it  happened 
again,  he  would  be  brave  and  look  into  it.  He  fortified  him- 
self with  some  tea  and  then  went  to  bed.  It  was  not  easy 
falling  asleep,  but  eventually  his  fatigue  got  the  upper  hand 
and  our  young  man  was  asleep  in  his  room. 

Promptly  at  2,  however,  he  was  awake  again.  And 
quicker  than  you  could  say  "Ghost  across  the  hall,”  there 
were  the  familiar  footsteps! 

Quickly,  our  intrepid  friend  got  up  and  stuck  his 
head  out  of  his  door,  facing  the  headmaster’s  room  and  the 
bathroom  directly  across  the  corridor. 

The  steps  were  now  very  loud  and  clear.  Although  he 
did  not  see  anyone,  he  heard  someone  move  along  the 
passage. 

He  was  petrified.  As  soon  as  the  footsteps  had  come 
to  the  usual  abrupt  halt  in  front  of  the  bathroom  door,  he 
crept  back  into  his  own  room  and  bed.  But  sleep  was  out 
of  the  question.  The  hours  were  like  months,  until  finally 
morning  came  and  a very  tired  Bentine  went  down  to 
breakfast,  glad  the  ordeal  of  the  night  had  come  to  an  end. 

He  had  to  know  what  this  was  all  about,  no  matter 
what  the  consequences.  To  go  through  another  night  like 
that  was  out  of  the  question. 

He  made  some  cautious  inquiries  about  that  room. 
There  had  been  a headmaster  fourteen  years  ago  who  had 
died  in  that  room.  It  had  been  suicide,  and  he  had  hanged 
himself  in  the  shower.  Bentine  turned  white  as  a ghost 
himself  when  he  heard  the  story.  He  immediately  tried  to 
arrange  to  have  his  room  changed.  But  that  could  not  be 
done  as  quickly  as  he  had  hoped,  so  it  was  only  after 
another  two-and-a-half  weeks  that  he  was  able  to  banish 
the  steps  of  the  ghostly  headmaster  from  his  mind. 

His  father  had  lent  him  a copy  of  my  book,  Ghost 
Hunter,  and  he  had  looked  forward  to  reading  it  when 
exams  eased  up  a bit.  But  now,  even  though  he  was  in 
another  room  that  had  not  the  slightest  trace  of  a ghost,  he 
could  not  bring  himself  to  touch  my  book.  Instead,  he  con- 
centrated on  reading  humor. 

Unfortunately  nobody  did  anything  about  the  ghostly 
headmaster,  so  it  must  be  that  he  keeps  coming  back  down 
that  passage  to  his  old  room,  only  to  find  his  body  still 
hanging  in  the  shower. 

You  might  ask,  "What  shall  I do  if  I think  I have  a 
ghost  in  the  house?  Shall  I run?  Shall  I stay?  Do  I talk  to  it 
or  ignore  it?  Is  there  a rule  book  for  people  having  ghosts?” 
Some  of  the  questions  I get  are  like  that.  Others  merely 
wish  to  report  a case  because  they  feel  it  is  something  I 
might  be  interested  in.  Still  others  want  help:  free  them 
from  the  ghost  and  vice  versa. 

But  so  many  people  have  ghosts — almost  as  many  as 
have  termites,  not  that  there  is  any  connection — that  I can- 
not personally  go  after  each  and  every  case  brought  to  my 
attention  by  mail,  telephone,  e-mail,  or  television. 


In  the  most  urgent  cases,  I try  to  come  and  help  the 
people  involved.  Usually  I do  this  in  connection  with  a TV 
show  or  lecture  at  the  local  university,  for  someone  has  to 
pay  my  expenses.  The  airlines  don’t  accept  ghost  money, 
nor  do  the  innkeepers.  And  thus  far  I have  been  on  my 
own,  financially  speaking,  with  no  institute  or  research 
foundation  to  take  up  the  slack.  For  destruction  and  bombs 
there  is  always  money,  but  for  research  involving  the  psy- 
chic, hardly  ever. 

Granted,  I can  visit  a number  of  people  with 
haunted -house  problems  every  year,  but  what  do  the  others 
do  when  I can’t  see  them  myself?  Can  I send  them  to  a 
local  ghost  hunter,  the  way  a doctor  sends  patients  to  a col- 
league if  he  can’t  or  does  not  wish  to  treat  them? 

Even  if  I could,  I wouldn’t  do  it.  When  they  ask  for 
my  help,  they  want  my  approach  to  their  peculiar  problems 
and  not  someone  else’s.  In  this  field  each  researcher  sees 
things  a little  differently  from  the  next  one.  I am  probably 
the  only  parapsychologist  who  is  unhesitatingly  pro-ghost. 
Some  will  admit  they  exist,  but  spend  a lot  of  time  trying 
to  find  “alternate”  explanations  if  they  cannot  discredit  the 
witnesses. 

I have  long,  and  for  good  scientific  reasons,  been  con- 
vinced that  ghosts  exist.  Ghosts  are  ghosts.  Not  hallucina- 
tions, necessarily,  and  not  the  mistakes  of  casual  observers. 
With  that  sort  of  practical  base  to  start  from,  I go  after  the 
cases  by  concentrating  on  the  situation  and  the  problems, 
rather  than,  as  some  researchers  will  do,  trying  hard  to 
change  the  basic  stories  reported  to  me.  I don’t  work  on 
my  witnesses;  I’ve  come  to  help  them.  To  try  and  shake 
them  with  the  sophisticated  apparatus  of  a trained  parapsy- 
chologist is  not  only  unfair,  but  also  foolish.  The  original 
reports  are  straight  reports  of  average  people  telling  what 
has  happened  in  their  own  environment.  If  you  try  to 
shake  their  testimony,  you  may  get  a different  story — but 
it  won’t  be  the  truth,  necessarily.  The  more  you  confuse 
the  witnesses,  the  less  they  will  recall  firsthand  information. 

My  job  begins  after  the  witnesses  have  told  their 
stories. 

In  the  majority  of  the  cases  I have  handled,  I have 
found  a basis  of  fact  for  the  ghostly  "complaint.”  Once  in  a 
while,  a person  may  have  thought  something  was  supernor- 
mal when  it  was  not,  and  on  rare  occasions  I have  come 
across  mentally  unbalanced  people  living  in  a fantasy  world 
of  their  own.  But  there  just  aren’t  that  many  kooks  who 
want  my  help:  evidently  my  scientific  method,  even  though 
I am  convinced  of  the  veracity  of  ghostly  phenomena,  is 
not  the  kind  of  searchlight  they  wish  to  have  turned  on 
their  strange  stories. 

What  to  do  until  the  Ghost  Hunter  arrives?  Relax,  if 
you  can.  Be  a good  observer  even  if  you're  scared  stiff. 

And  remember,  please — ghosts  are  also  people. 

There,  but  for  the  grace  of  God,  goes  someone  like 

you. 


CHAPTER  FOUR:  What  Exactly  Is  a Ghost? 


56 


CHAPTER  FIVE 


Famous  Ghosts 


HERE  we  DEAL  WITH  the  ghosts  of  famous  people,  whose  names  nearly  everyone  will  recognize. 
This  category  includes  historical  celebrities,  national  figures,  heroes,  leaders,  and  also 
celebrities  of  Hollywood,  the  theatre,  people  who  once  made  headlines,  and  people  who  had 
some  measure  of  fame,  which  is  usually  a lot  more  than  the  proverbial  fifteen  minutes  that,  according 
to  the  late  Andy  Warhol,  everyone  can  find. 

There  are  many  houses  or  places  where  famous  ghosts  have  appeared  that  are  open  to  the  public. 
These  include  national  monuments,  local  museums,  historical  houses  and  mansions.  But  are  the 
famous  ghosts  still  there  when  you  visit?  Well,  now,  that  depends:  many  ghostly  experiences  are,  as  I 
have  pointed  out,  impressions  from  the  past,  and  you  get  to  sort  of  relive  the  events  that  involved 
them  in  the  past.  It  is  a little  difficult  to  sort  this  out,  tell  which  is  a bona  fide  resident  ghost  still 
hanging  around  the  old  premises  and  which  is  a scene  from  the  past.  But  if  you  are  the  one  who  is 
doing  the  exploring,  the  ghost  hunter  as  it  were,  it  is  for  you  to  experience  and  decide  for  yourself. 
Good  hunting! 

GHOSTS  IN  FICTION 

Ghosts,  phantoms  and  spirits  have  always  been  a staple  for  novelists  and  dramatists.  Mysterious  and 
worrisome  ghosts  are  both  part  of  the  human  experience  yet  outside  the  mainstream  of  that  world. 
Many  of  the  false  notions  people  have  about  ghosts  come  from  fiction.  Only  in  fictional  ghost  stories 
do  ghosts  threaten  or  cause  harm:  in  the  real  afterlife,  they  are  too  busy  trying  to  understand  their  sit- 
uation to  worry  about  those  in  the  physical  world. 

From  Chaucer’s  Canterville  ghost  with  his  rattling  chain  to  Shakespeare’s  ghost  of  Hamlet’s 
father,  who  restlessly  walked  the  ramparts  of  his  castle  because  of  unresolved  matters  (such  as  his 
murder),  in  literature,  ghosts  seem  frightening  and  undesirable.  No  Caspers  there. 


Famous  Ghosts 


57 


The  masters  of  the  macabre,  from  E.  T.  A.  Hoffman 
to  Edgar  Allan  Poe,  have  presented  their  ghosts  as  sorrow- 
ful, unfortunate  creatures  who  are  best  avoided. 

The  Flying  Dutchman  is  a man,  punished  by  God 
for  transgressions  (though  they  are  never  quite  explained), 
who  cannot  stop  being  a ghost  until  true  love  comes  his 
way.  Not  likely,  among  the  real  kind. 

* * * 

Edith  Wharton’s  novels  offer  us  far  more  realistic 
ghosts,  perhaps  because  she  is  nearer  to  our  time  and  was 
aware  of  psychical  research  in  these  matters. 

There  is  a pair  of  ghostly  dancing  feet  in  one  of  Rud- 
yard  Kipling’s  Indian  tales  that  used  to  keep  me  up  nights 
when  I was  a boy.  Today,  they  would  merely  interest  me 
because  of  my  desire  to  see  the  rest  of  the  dancer,  too. 


Arthur  Conan  Doyle  presents  us  with  a colorful  but 
very  believable  ghost  story  in  "The  Law  of  the  Ghost.” 
Lastly,  the  ghosts  of  Dickens’  A Christmas  Carol  are  not 
really  ghosts  but  messengers  from  beyond,  symbolic  at 
best. 

Please  don’t  rush  to  Elsinore  Castle  in  Denmark  in 
search  of  the  unfortunate  king  who  was  murdered  by  his 
brother  because,  alas,  both  the  murdered  king  and  his 
brother  Claudius  are  as  much  figments  of  Shakespeare’s 
imagination  as  is  the  melancholy  Dane,  Hamlet,  himself. 

Television  ghosts  tend  to  be  much  less  frightening,  even 
pleasant.  The  ghosts  in  “The  Ghost  and  Mrs.  Muir,” 
starring  Rex  Harrison,  were  sarcastic,  almost  lovable.  The 
ghostly  couple  the  banker  Topper  had  to  contend  with  was 
full  of  mischief,  at  worst,  and  helpful,  at  best. 

And  they  did  all  sorts  of  things  real  ghosts  don’t  do, 
but  special  effects  will  have  their  say. 


CHAPTER  FIVE:  Famous  Ghosts 
58 


» 1 

The  Conference  House  Ghost 

ONLY  AN  HOUR  OR  SO  by  ferry  boat  from  bustling  Man- 
hattan lies  the  remote  charm  of  Staten  Island,  where  many 
old  houses  and  even  farms  still  exist  in  their  original  form 
within  the  boundaries  of  New  York  City. 

One  of  these  old  houses,  and  a major  sight-seeing 
attraction,  is  the  so-called  “Conference  House,”  where  the 
British  Commander,  Lord  Howe,  received  the  American 
Conference  delegation  consisting  of  Benjamin  Franklin, 
John  Adams,  and  Edward  Rutledge,  on  September  1 1 , 

1776.  The  purpose  of  the  meeting  was  to  convince  the 
Americans  that  a peaceful  solution  should  be  found  for  the 
difficulties  between  England  and  the  Colonies.  The  meet- 
ing proved  unsuccessful,  of  course,  and  the  Revolutionary 
War  ensued. 

The  house  itself  is  a sturdy  white  two- story  building, 
erected  along  typical  English  manorhouse  lines,  in  1688,  on 
a site  known  then  as  Bentley  Manor  in  what  is  today  Tot- 
tenville.  There  are  two  large  rooms  on  the  ground  floor, 
and  a staircase  leading  to  an  upper  story,  also  divided  into 
two  rooms;  a basement  contains  the  kitchen  and  a vaultlike 
enclosure.  The  original  owner  of  the  house  was  Captain 
Billopp  of  the  British  Navy,  and  his  descendants  lived  in 
the  house  until  the  close  of  the  Revolutionary  period. 

Local  legends  have  had  the  house  “haunted”  for 
many  years.  The  story  was  that  Billopp,  a hard  man,  jilted 
his  fiancee,  and  that  she  died  of  a broken  heart  in  this  very 
house.  For  several  generations  back,  reports  of  noises,  mur- 
murs, sighs,  moans,  and  pleas  have  been  received  and  the 
old  Staten  Island  Transcript,  a local  newspaper,  has  men- 
tioned these  strange  goings-on  over  the  years.  When  the 
house  was  being  rebuilt,  after  having  been  taken  over  as  a 
museum  by  the  city,  the  workers  are  said  to  have  heard  the 
strange  noises,  too. 

It  was  against  this  background  that  I decided  to 
investigate  the  house  in  the  company  of  Mrs.  Meyers,  who 
was  to  be  our  sensitive,  and  two  friends,  Rose  de  Simone 
and  Pearl  Winder,  who  were  to  be  the  "sitters,”  or  assis- 
tants to  the  medium. 

After  we  had  reached  Staten  Island,  and  were  about 
half  an  hour’s  drive  from  the  house,  Mrs.  Meyers  volun- 
teered her  impressions  of  the  house  which  she  was  yet  to 
see!  She  spoke  of  it  as  being  white,  the  ground  floor 
divided  into  two  rooms,  a brown  table  and  eight  chairs  in 
the  east  room;  the  room  on  the  west  side  of  the  house  is 
the  larger  one,  and  lighter  colored  than  the  other  room,  and 
some  silverware  was  on  display  in  the  room  to  the  left. 

Upon  arriving  at  the  house,  I checked  these  state- 
ments; they  were  correct,  except  that  the  number  of  chairs 
was  now  only  seven,  not  eight,  and  the  silver  display  had 
been  removed  from  its  spot  eight  years  before! 


Mrs.  Meyers’  very  first  impression  was  the  name 
“Butler”;  later  I found  that  the  estate  next  door  belonged 
to  the  Butler  family,  unknown,  of  course,  to  the  medium. 

We  ascended  the  stairs;  Mrs.  Meyers  sat  down  on 
the  floor  of  the  second -story  room  to  the  left.  She  described 
a woman  named  Jane,  stout,  white-haired,  wearing  a dark 
green  dress  and  a fringed  shawl,  then  mentioned  the  name 
Howe.  It  must  be  understood  that  the  connection  of  Lord 
Howe  with  the  house  was  totally  unknown  to  all  of  us  until 
after  checking  up  on  the  history  of  the  Conference  House, 
later  on. 

Next  Mrs.  Meyers  described  a man  with  white  hair, 
or  a wig,  wearing  a dark  coat  with  embroidery  at  the  neck, 
tan  breeches,  dark  shoes,  and  possessed  of  a wide,  square 
face,  a thick  nose,  and  looking  “Dutch.”  “The  man  died  in 
this  room,”  she  added. 

She  then  spoke  of  the  presence  of  a small  boy,  about 
six,  dressed  in  pantaloons  and  with  his  hair  in  bangs.  The 
child  born  in  this  room  was  specially  honored  later,  Mrs. 
Meyers  felt.  This  might  apply  to  Christopher  Billopp,  born 
at  the  house  in  1737,  who  later  became  Richmond  County 
representative  in  the  Colonial  Assembly.  Also,  Mrs.  Mey- 
ers felt  the  “presence"  of  a big  man  in  a fur  hat,  rather  fat, 
wearing  a skin  coat  and  high  boots,  brass-buckle  belt  and 
black  trousers;  around  him  she  felt  boats,  nets,  sailing 
boats,  and  she  heard  a foreign,  broad  accent,  also  saw  him 
in  a four-masted  ship  of  the  square-rigger  type.  The  initial 
T was  given.  Later,  I learned  that  the  Billopp  family  were 
prominent  Tory  leaders  up  to  and  during  the  Revolution. 

This  man,  Mrs.  Meyers  felt,  had  a loud  voice,  broad 
forehead,  high  cheekbones,  was  a vigorous  man,  tall,  with 
shaggy  hair,  and  possibly  Dutch.  His  name  was  Van  B., 
she  thought.  She  did  not  know  that  Billopp  (or  Van  Bil- 
lopp) was  the  builder  of  the  house. 

"I  feel  as  if  I’m  being  dragged  somewhere  by  Indians,” 
Mrs.  Meyers  suddenly  said.  “There  is  violence, 
somebody  dies  on  a pyre  of  wood,  two  men,  one  white,  one 
Indian;  and  on  two  sticks  nearby  are  their  scalps.” 

Later,  I ascertained  that  Indian  attacks  were  frequent 
here  during  the  seventeenth  and  eighteenth  centuries  and 
that,  in  fact,  a tunnel  once  existed  as  an  escape  route  to  the 
nearby  waterfront,  in  case  of  hostile  Indian  sieges.  Large 
numbers  of  arrowheads  have  been  unearthed  around  the 
house. 

Down  in  the  cellar,  Mrs.  Meyers  felt  sure  six  people 
had  been  buried  near  the  front  wall  during  the  Revolution- 
ary War,  all  British  soldiers;  she  thought  eight  more  were 
buried  elsewhere  on  the  grounds  and  sensed  the  basement 
full  of  wounded  “like  a hospital.”  On  investigation,  I found 
that  some  members  of  Billopp ’s  family  were  indeed  buried 
on  the  grounds  near  the  road;  as  for  the  British  soldiers, 
there  were  frequent  skirmishes  around  the  house  between 
Americans  infiltrating  from  the  nearby  New  Jersey  shore 
and  the  British,  who  held  Staten  Island  since  July  4,  1776. 

The  Conference  House  Ghost 


59 


At  one  time,  Captain  Billopp,  a British  subject,  was  kid- 
napped by  armed  bandits  in  his  own  house,  and  taken  to 
New  Jersey  a prisoner  of  the  Americans! 

We  returned  to  the  upper  part  of  the  house  once 
more.  Suddenly,  Mrs.  Meyers  felt  impelled  to  turn  her 
attention  to  the  winding  staircase.  I followed  with  mount- 
ing excitement. 


Descending  the  stairs,  our  medium  suddenly  halted 
her  steps  and  pointed  to  a spot  near  the  landing  of  the  sec- 
ond story.  “Someone  was  killed  here  with  a crooked  knife, 
a woman!”  she  said.  There  was  horror  on  her  face  as  if  she 
were  reliving  the  murder.  On  questioning  the  custodian, 
Mrs.  Early,  I discovered  that  Captain  Billopp,  in  a rage, 
had  indeed  killed  a female  slave  on  that  very  spot! 


m 2 

The  Stranger  at  the  Door 

I HAVE  FOUND  THAT  there  are  ghosts  in  all  sorts  of 
places,  in  ancient  castles,  modern  apartment  houses,  farms 
and  ships — but  it  is  somewhat  of  a jolt  to  find  out  you’ve 
lived  in  a house  for  a few  years  and  didn’t  even  know  it 
was  haunted.  But  that  is  exactly  what  happened  to  me. 

For  three  years  I was  a resident  of  a beautiful  twenty- 
nine-story  apartment  building  on  Riverside  Drive.  I lived 
on  the  nineteenth  floor,  and  seldom  worried  about  what 
transpired  below  me.  But  I was  aware  of  the  existence  of  a 
theater  and  a museum  on  the  ground  floor  of  the  building. 

I was  also  keenly  aware  of  numerous  inspired  paintings, 
some  Tibetan,  some  Occidental,  adorning  the  corridors  of 
this  building.  The  museum  is  nowadays  known  as  the 
Riverside  Museum,  and  the  paintings  were  largely  the  work 
of  the  great  Rohrach,  a painter  who  sought  his  inspirations 
mainly  in  the  mysticism  of  Tibet,  where  he  spent  many 
years.  On  his  return  from  the  East,  his  many  admirers 
decided  to  chip  in  a few  million  and  build  him  a monu- 
ment worthy  of  his  name.  Thus,  in  1930,  was  raised  the 
Rohrach  building  as  a center  of  the  then  flourishing  cult  of 
Eastern  mysticism,  of  which  Rohrach  was  the  high  priest. 
After  his  death,  a schism  appeared  among  his  followers, 
and  an  exodus  took  place.  A new  “Rohrach  Museum”  was 
established  by  Seena  Fosdick,  and  is  still  in  existence  a few 
blocks  away  from  the  imposing  twenty-nine-story  structure 
originally  known  by  that  name.  In  turn,  the  building  where 
I lived  changed  its  name  to  that  of  the  Master  Institute,  a 
combination  apartment  building  and  school,  and,  of  course, 
art  gallery. 

It  was  in  February  of  1960  when  I met  at  a tea  party 
— yes,  there  are  such  things  in  this  day  and  age — a young 
actress  and  producer,  Mrs.  Roland,  who  had  an  interesting 
experience  at  "my”  building  some  years  ago.  She  was  not 
sure  whether  it  was  1952  or  1953,  but  she  was  quite  sure 
that  it  happened  exactly  the  way  she  told  it  to  me  that  win- 
ter afternoon  in  the  apartment  of  famed  author  Claudia  de 
Lys. 

A lecture-meeting  dealing  with  Eastern  philosophy 
had  drawn  her  to  the  Rohrach  building.  Ralph  Huston,  the 

CHAPTER  FIV&  Famous  Ghosts 
60 


eminent  philosopher,  presided  over  the  affair,  and  a full 
turnout  it  was.  As  the  speaker  held  the  attention  of  the 
crowd,  Mrs.  Roland’s  eyes  wandered  off  to  the  rear  of  the 
room.  Her  interest  was  invited  by  a tall  stranger  standing 
near  the  door,  listening  quietly  and  with  rapt  attention. 
Mrs.  Roland  didn’t  know  too  many  of  the  active  members, 
and  the  stranger,  whom  she  had  never  seen  before,  fasci- 
nated her.  His  dress,  for  one  thing,  was  most  peculiar.  He 
wore  a gray  cotton  robe  with  a high-necked  collar,  the  kind 
one  sees  in  Oriental  paintings,  and  on  his  head  he  had  a 
round  black  cap.  He  appeared  to  be  a fairly  young  man, 
certainly  in  the  prime  of  life,  and  his  very  dark  eyes  in  par- 
ticular attracted  her. 

For  a moment  she  turned  her  attention  to  the 
speaker;  when  she  returned  to  the  door,  the  young  man 
was  gone. 

Peculiar,  she  thought;  “why  should  he  leave  in  the 
middle  of  the  lecture?  He  seemed  so  interested  in  it  all.” 

As  the  devotees  of  mysticism  slowly  filed  out  of  the 
room,  the  actress  sauntered  over  to  Mrs.  Fosdick  whom 
she  knew  to  be  the  “boss  lady  ” of  the  group. 

“Tell  me,”  she  inquired,  “who  was  that  handsome 
dark-eyed  young  man  at  the  door?” 

Mrs.  Fosdick  was  puzzled.  She  did  not  recall  any 
such  person.  The  actress  then  described  the  stranger  in 
every  detail.  When  she  had  finished,  Mrs.  Fosdick  seemed 
a bit  pale. 

But  this  was  an  esoteric  forum,  so  she  did  not  hesi- 
tate to  tell  Mrs.  Roland  that  she  had  apparently  seen  an 
apparition.  What  was  more,  the  description  fitted  the  great 
Rohrach — in  his  earlier  years — to  a T.  Mrs.  Roland  had 
never  seen  Rohrach  in  the  flesh. 

At  this  point,  Mrs.  Roland  confessed  that  she  had 
psychic  abilities,  and  was  often  given  to  "hunches.”  There 
was  much  head  shaking,  followed  by  some  hand  shaking, 
and  then  the  matter  was  forgotten. 

I was  of  course  interested,  for  what  would  be  nicer 
than  to  have  a house  ghost,  so  to  speak? 

The  next  morning,  I contacted  Mrs.  Fosdick.  Unfor- 
tunately, this  was  one  of  the  occasions  when  truth  did  not 
conquer.  When  I had  finished  telling  her  what  I wanted 
her  to  confirm,  she  tightened  up,  especially  when  she  found 
out  I was  living  at  the  “enemy  camp,”  so  to  speak. 
Emphatically,  Mrs.  Fosdick  denied  the  incident,  but  admit- 
ted knowing  Mrs.  Roland. 


With  this,  I returned  to  my  informant,  who  reaf- 
firmed the  entire  matter.  Again  I approached  Mrs.  Fosdick 
with  the  courage  of  an  unwelcome  suitor  advancing  on  the 
castle  of  his  beloved,  fully  aware  of  the  dragons  lurking  in 
the  moat. 

While  I explained  my  scientific  reasons  for  wanting 
her  to  remember  the  incident,  she  launched  into  a tirade 
concerning  her  withdrawal  from  the  “original”  Rohrach 
group,  which  was  fascinating,  but  not  to  me. 


I have  no  reason  to  doubt  Mrs.  Roland’s  account, 
especially  as  I found  her  extremely  well  poised,  balanced, 
and  indeed,  psychic. 

I only  wondered  if  Mr.  Rohrach  would  sometime 
honor  me  with  a visit,  or  vice  versa,  now  that  we  were 
neighbors? 


» 3 

A Visit  with  Alexander  Hamilton’s 
Ghost 

THERE  STANDS  AT  Number  27,  Jane  Street,  in  New 
York’s  picturesque  artists’  quarters,  Greenwich  Village,  a 
mostly  wooden  house  dating  back  to  pre-Revolutionary 
days.  In  this  house  Alexander  Hamilton  was  treated  in  his 
final  moments.  Actually,  he  died  a few  houses  away,  at  80 
Jane  Street,  but  No.  27  was  the  home  of  John  Francis,  his 
doctor,  who  attended  him  after  the  fatal  duel  with  Aaron 
Burr. 

However,  the  Hamilton  house  no  longer  exists,  and 
the  wreckers  are  now  after  the  one  of  his  doctor,  now  occu- 
pied a writer  and  artist,  Jean  Karsavina,  who  has  lived 
there  since  1939. 

The  facts  of  Hamilton’s  untimely  passing  are  well 
known;  D.  S.  Alexander  (in  his  Political  History  of  the  State 
of  New  York)  reports  that,  because  of  political  enmity, 

“Burr  seems  to  have  deliberately  determined  to  kill  him.” 

A letter  written  by  Hamilton  calling  Burr  "despicable”  and 
“not  to  be  trusted  with  the  reins  of  government”  found  its 
way  into  the  press,  and  Burr  demanded  an  explanation. 
Hamilton  declined,  and  on  June  11,  1804,  atWeehawken, 
New  Jersey,  Burr  took  careful  aim,  and  his  first  shot  mor- 
tally wounded  Hamilton.  In  the  boat  back  to  the  city, 
Hamilton  regained  consciousness,  but  knew  his  end  was 
near.  He  was  taken  to  Dr.  Francis’  house  and  treated,  but 
died  within  a few  days  at  his  own  home,  across  the  street. 

Ever  since  moving  into  27  Jane  Street,  Miss  Karsav- 
ina has  been  aware  of  footsteps,  creaking  stairs,  and  the 
opening  and  closing  of  doors;  and  even  the  unexplained 
flushing  of  a toilet.  On  one  occasion,  she  found  the  toilet 
chain  still  swinging,  when  there  was  no  one  around!  “I 
suppose  a toilet  that  flushes  would  be  a novelty  to  someone 
from  the  eighteenth  century,”  she  is  quoted  in  a brief 
newspaper  account  in  June  of  1957. 

She  also  has  seen  a blurred  “shape,”  without  being 
able  to  give  details  of  the  apparition;  her  upstairs  tenant, 
however,  reports  that  one  night  not  so  long  ago,  “a  man  in 

■* 


eighteenth-century  clothes,  with  his  hair  in  a queue” 
walked  into  her  room,  looked  at  her  and  walked  out  again. 

Miss  Karsavina  turned  out  to  be  a well-read  and 
charming  lady  who  had  accepted  the  possibility  of  living 
with  a ghost  under  the  same  roof.  Mrs.  Meyers  and  I went 
to  see  her  in  March  1960.  The  medium  had  no  idea  where 
we  were  going. 

At  first,  Mrs.  Meyers,  still  in  waking  condition, 
noticed  a “shadow”  of  a man,  old,  with  a broad  face  and 
bulbous  nose;  a woman  with  a black  shawl  whose  name  she 
thought  was  Deborah,  and  she  thought  “someone  had  a 
case”;  she  then  described  an  altar  of  white  lilies,  a bridal 
couple,  and  a small  coffin  covered  with  flowers;  then  a very 
old  woman  in  a coffin  that  was  richly  adorned,  with  rela- 
tives including  a young  boy  and  girl  looking  into  the  open 
coffin.  She  got  the  name  of  Mrs.  Patterson,  and  the  girl’s 
as  Miss  Lucy.  In  another  “impression”  of  the  same 
premises,  Mrs.  Meyers  described  “an  empty  coffin,  people 
weeping,  talking,  milling  around,  and  the  American  Flag 
atop  the  coffin ; in  the  coffin  a man’s  hat,  shoes  with  silver 
buckles,  gold  epaulettes. . . .”  She  then  got  close  to  the  man 
and  thought  his  lungs  were  filling  with  liquid  and  he  died 
with  a pain  in  his  side. 

Lapsing  into  semitrance  at  this  point,  Mrs.  Meyers 
described  a party  of  men  in  a small  boat  on  the  water,  then 
a man  wearing  white  pants  and  a blue  coat  with  blood 
spilled  over  the  pants.  “Two  boats  were  involved,  and  it  is 
dusk,”  she  added. 

Switching  apparently  to  another  period,  Mrs.  Meyers 
felt  that  "something  is  going  on  in  the  cellar,  they  try  to 
keep  attention  from  what  happens  downstairs;  there  is  a 
woman  here,  being  stopped  by  two  men  in  uniforms  with 
short  jackets  and  round  hats  with  wide  brims,  and  pistols. 
There  is  the  sound  of  shrieking,  the  woman  is  pushed  back 
violently,  men  are  marching,  someone  who  had  been  har- 
bored here  has  to  be  given  up,  an  old  man  in  a nightshirt 
and  red  socks  is  being  dragged  out  of  the  house  into  the 
snow.” 

In  still  another  impression,  Mrs.  Meyers  felt  herself 
drawn  up  toward  the  rear  of  the  house  where  “someone 
died  in  childbirth”;  in  fact,  this  type  of  death  occurred 

A Visit  with  Alexander  Hamilton’s  Ghost 


61 


“several  times”  in  this  house.  Police  were  involved,  too, 
but  this  event  or  chain  of  events  is  of  a later  period  than 
the  initial  impressions,  she  felt.  The  name  Henry  Oliver  or 
Oliver  Henry  came  to  her  mind. 

After  her  return  to  full  consciousness,  Mrs.  Meyers 
remarked  that  there  was  a chilly  area  near  the  center  of  the 
downstairs  room.  There  is;  I feel  it  too.  Mrs.  Meyers 
"sees”  the  figure  of  a slender  man,  well-formed,  over  aver- 
age height,  in  white  trousers,  black  boots,  dark  blue  coat 
and  tails,  white  lace  in  front;  he  is  associated  with  George 
Washington  and  Lafayette,  and  their  faces  appear  to  her, 
too;  she  feels  Washington  may  have  been  in  this  house. 

The  man  she  “sees”  is  a general,  she  can  see  his  epaulettes. 
The  old  woman  and  the  children  seen  earlier  are  somehow 
connected  with  this,  too.  He  died  young,  and  there  "was 
fighting  in  a boat.”  Now  Mrs.  Meyers  gets  the  name  “W. 
Lawrence.”  She  has  a warm  feeling  about  the  owner  of  the 
house;  he  took  in  numbers  of  people,  like  refugees. 

A “General  Mills”  stored  supplies  here — shoes,  coats, 
almost  like  a military  post;  food  is  being  handed  out.  The 
name  Bradley  is  given.  Then  Mrs.  Meyers  sees  an  old  man 
playing  a cornet;  two  men  in  white  trousers  “seen”  seated 
at  a long  table,  bent  over  papers,  with  a crystal  chandelier 
above. 

After  the  seance,  Miss  Karsavina  confirmed  that  the 
house  belonged  to  Hamilton’s  physician,  and  as  late  as 


1825  was  owned  by  a doctor,  who  happened  to  be  the  doc- 
tor for  the  Metropolitan  Opera  House.  The  cornet 
player  might  have  been  one  of  his  patients. 

In  pre-Revolutionary  days,  the  house  may  have  been 
used  as  headquarters  of  an  “underground  railroad,”  around 
1730,  when  the  police  tried  to  pick  up  the  alleged  instiga- 
tors of  the  so-called  "Slave  Plot,”  evidently  being  sheltered 
here. 

“Lawrence”  may  refer  to  the  portrait  of  Washington 
by  Lawrence  which  used  to  hang  over  the  fireplace  in  the 
house.  On  the  other  hand,  I found  a T.  Lawrence,  M.  D., 
at  146  Greenwich  Street,  in  Elliot’s  Improved  Directory  for 
New  York  (1812);  and  a “Widow  Patterson”  is  listed  by 
Longworth  (1803)  at  177  William  Street;  a William 
Lawrence,  druggist,  at  80  John  Street.  According  to 
Charles  Burr  Todd’s  Story  of  New  York,  two  of  Hamilton’s 
pallbearers  were  Oliver  Wolcott  and  John  L.  Lawrence. 
The  other  names  mentioned  could  not  be  found.  The 
description  of  the  man  in  white  trousers  is  of  course  the 
perfect  image  of  Hamilton,  and  the  goings-on  at  the  house 
with  its  many  coffins,  and  women  dying  in  childbirth,  are 
indeed  understandable  for  a doctor's  residence. 

It  does  not  seem  surprising  that  Alexander  Hamil- 
ton’s shade  should  wish  to  roam  about  the  house  of  the 
man  who  tried,  vainly,  to  save  his  life. 


» 4 

The  Fifth  Avenue  Ghost 

SOME  CASES  OF  haunted  houses  require  but  a single  visit 
to  obtain  information  and  evidence,  others  require  two  or 
three.  But  very  few  cases  in  the  annals  of  psychic  research 
can  equal  or  better  the  record  set  by  the  case  I shall  call 
The  Fifth  Avenue  Ghost.  Seventeen  sessions,  stretching 
over  a period  of  five  months,  were  needed  to  complete  this 
most  unusual  case.  I am  presenting  it  here  just  as  it 
unfolded  for  us.  I am  quoting  from  our  transcripts,  our 
records  taken  during  each  and  every  session;  and  because 
so  much  evidence  was  obtained  in  this  instance  that  could 
only  be  obtained  from  the  person  these  events  actually 
happened  to,  it  is  to  my  mind  a very  strong  case  for  the 
truth  about  the  nature  of  hauntings. 

* * * 

It  isn’t  very  often  that  one  finds  a haunted  apartment 
listed  in  the  leading  evening  paper. 

Occasionally,  an  enterprising  real-estate  agent  will 
add  the  epithet  “looks  haunted”  to  a cottage  in  the  country 
to  attract  the  romanticist  from  the  big  city. 

CHAPTER  FIVE:  Famous  Ghosts 


But  the  haunted  apartment  I found  listed  in  the  New 
York  Daily  News  one  day  in  July  1953  was  the  real  McCoy. 
Danton  Walker,  the  late  Broadway  columnist,  had  this 
item — 

One  for  the  books:  an  explorer,  advertising  his  Fifth 
Avenue  Studio  for  sublet,  includes  among  the  attractions 
‘attic  dark  room  with  ghost.’ . . . 

The  enterprising  gentleman  thus  advertising  his 
apartment  for  rent  turned  out  to  be  Captain  Davis,  a cele- 
brated explorer  and  author  of  many  books,  including,  here 
and  there,  some  ghost  lore.  Captain  Davis  was  no  skeptic. 
To  the  contrary,  I found  him  sincere  and  well  aware  of  the 
existence  of  psychical  research.  Within  hours,  I had  dis- 
cussed the  case  with  the  study  group  which  met  weekly  at 
the  headquarters  of  the  Association  for  Research  and 
Enlightenment,  the  Edgar  Cayce  Foundation.  A team  was 
organized,  consisting  of  Bernard  Axelrod,  Nelson  Welsh, 
Stanley  Goldberg,  and  myself,  and,  of  course,  Mrs.  Meyers 
as  the  medium.  Bernard  Axelrod  and  I knew  that  there  was 
some  kind  of  "ghost”  at  the  Fifth  Avenue  address,  but  lit- 
tle more.  The  medium  knew  nothing  whatever.  Two  days 
after  the  initial  session,  a somewhat  fictional  piece  appeared 
in  the  New  York  Times  (July  13,  1953)  by  the  late  Meyer 
Berger,  who  had  evidently  interviewed  the  host,  but  not  the 


62 


ghost.  Mr.  Berger  quoted  Captain  Davis  as  saying  there 
was  a green  ghost  who  had  hanged  himself  from  the  studio 
gallery,  and  allegedly  sticks  an  equally  green  hand  out  of 
the  attic  window  now  and  then. 

Captain  Davis  had  no  idea  who  the  ghost  was.  This 
piece,  it  must  be  re-emphasized,  appeared  two  days  after 
the  initial  sitting  at  the  Fifth  Avenue  house,  and  its  con- 
tents were  of  course  unknown  to  all  concerned  at  the  time. 

* * * 

In  order  to  shake  hands  with  the  good  Captain,  we 
had  to  climb  six  flights  of  stairs  to  the  very  top  of  226 
Fifth  Avenue.  The  building  itself  is  one  of  those  big  old 
town  houses  popular  in  the  mid-Victorian  age,  somber, 
sturdy,  and  well  up  to  keeping  its  dark  secrets  behind  its 
thickset  stone  walls.  Captain  Davis  volunteered  the  infor- 
mation that  previous  tenants  had  included  Richard  Hard- 
ing Davis,  actor  Richard  Mansfield,  and  a lady  magazine 
editor.  Only  the  lady  was  still  around  and,  when  inter- 
viewed, was  found  to  be  totally  ignorant  of  the  entire  ghost 
tradition,  nor  had  she  ever  been  disturbed.  Captain  Davis 
also  told  of  guests  in  the  house  having  seen  the  ghost  at 
various  times,  though  he  himself  had  not.  His  home  is  one 
of  the  those  fantastic  and  colorful  apartments  only  an 
explorer  or  collector  would  own — a mixture  of  comfortable 
studio  and  museum,  full  of  excitement  and  personality,  and 
offering  more  than  a touch  of  the  Unseen.  Two  wild  jungle 
cats  completed  the  atmospheric  picture,  somewhat  anticli- 
maxed by  the  host's  tape  recorder  set  up  on  the  floor.  The 
apartment  is  a kind  of  duplex,  with  a gallery  or  balcony 
jutting  out  into  the  main  room.  In  the  middle  of  this  bal- 
cony was  the  window  referred  to  in  the  Times  interview. 
Present  were  the  host,  Captain  Davis,  Mr.  and  Mrs. 
Bertram  Long,  the  Countess  de  Sales,  all  friends  of  the 
host’s,  and  the  group  of  researchers  previously  mentioned 
— a total  of  eight  people,  and,  if  you  wish,  two  cats.  As 
with  most  sittings,  tape  recordings  were  made  of  the  pro- 
ceedings from  beginning  to  end,  in  addition  to  which  writ- 
ten notes  were  taken. 

MEETING  A GHOST 

Like  a well -rehearsed  television  thriller,  the  big  clock  in  the 
tower  across  the  square  struck  nine,  and  the  lights  were 
doused,  except  for  one  medium-bright  electric  lamp.  This 
was  sufficient  light,  however,  to  distinguish  the  outlines  of 
most  of  the  sitters,  and  particularly  the  center  of  the  room 
around  the  medium. 

A comfortable  chair  was  placed  under  the  gallery,  in 
which  the  medium  took  her  place;  around  her,  forming  a 
circle,  sat  the  others,  with  the  host  operating  the  recorder 
and  facing  the  medium.  It  was  very  still,  and  the  atmos- 
phere seemed  tense.  The  medium  had  hardly  touched  the 
chair  when  she  grabbed  her  own  neck  in  the  unmistakable 
manner  of  someone  being  choked  to  death,  and  nervously 
told  of  being  “hung  by  the  neck  until  dead.”  She  then  sat 


in  the  chair  and  Bernard  Axelrod,  an  experienced  hypno- 
tist, conditioned  her  into  her  usual  trance  condition,  which 
came  within  a few  minutes. 

With  bated  breath,  we  awaited  the  arrival  of  what- 
ever personality  might  be  the  “ghost”  referred  to.  We 
expected  some  violence  and,  as  will  be  seen  shortly,  we  got 
it.  This  is  quite  normal  with  such  cases,  especially  at  the 
first  contact.  It  appears  that  a “disturbed  personality”  con- 
tinuously relives  his  or  her  “passing  condition,”  or  cause  of 
death,  and  it  is  this  last  agony  that  so  frequently  makes 
ghostly  visitations  matters  of  horror.  If  emotional  anxiety  is 
the  cause  of  death,  or  was  present  at  death,  then  the  “dis- 
turbed personality,”  or  entity,  will  keep  reliving  that  final 
agony,  much  like  a phonograph  needle  stuck  in  the  last 
groove  of  a record.  But  here  is  what  happened  on  that  first 
occasion. 

Sitting  of  July  11th,  1953,  at  226  Fifth  Avenue 

The  medium,  now  possessed  by  unknown  entity,  has  diffi- 
culty in  speaking.  Entity  breaks  into  mad  laughter  full  of 
hatred. 

Entity: . . .curry  the  horse. . .they’re  coming. . .curry  the 
horse!  Where  is  Mignon?  WHERE  IS  SHE? 

Question:  We  wish  to  help  you.  Who  is  Mignon? 

Entity:  She  should  be  here. . .where  is  she. . .you’ve  got 
her!  Where  is  she?  Where  is  the  baby? 

Question:  What  baby? 

Entity:  What  did  they  do  with  her? 

Question:  We’re  your  friends. 

Entity:  (in  tears)  Oh,  an  enemy . . .an  enemy. . . . 

Question:  What  is  your  name? 

Entity:  Guychone. . .Guychone. . . .(expresses  pain  at  the 
neck;  hands  feeling  around  are  apparently  puzzled  by  find- 
ing a woman’s  body) 

Question:  You  are  using  someone  else’s  body.  (Entity 
clutches  throat.)  Does  it  hurt  you  there? 

Entity:  Not  any  more. . .it’s  whole  again. . . I can’t 

see. . . .All  is  so  different,  all  is  very  strange. . .nothing  is  the 

same. 

I asked  how  he  died.  This  excited  him  immediately. 

Entity:  (hysterical)  I didn’t  do  it. . . I tell  you  I didn’t  do  it, 
no. . .Mignon,  Mignon. . .where  is  she?  They  took  the 
baby . . . she  put  me  away . . . they  took  her ....  (Why  did  she 
put  you  away?)  So  no  one  could  find  me  (Where?)  I stay 
there  (meaning  upstairs)  all  the  time. 


The  Fifth  Avenue  Ghost 


63 


At  this  point,  tapes  were  changed.  Entity,  asked 
where  he  came  from,  says  Charleston,  and  that  he  lived  in 
a white  house. 

Question:  Do  you  find  it  difficult  to  use  this  body? 

Entity:  WHAT??  WHAT??  I’m  HERE. . .I’m  here. , . . This  is 
my  house. . .what  are  YOU  doing  here? 

Question:  Tell  me  about  the  little  room  upstairs. 

Entity:  (crying)  Can  I go. . .away. . .from  the  room? 

At  this  point,  the  entity  left,  and  the  medium’s  control, 
Albert,  took  over  her  body. 

Albert:  There  is  a very  strong  force  here,  and  it  has  been  a 
little  difficult.  This  individual  here  suffered  violence  at  the 
hands  of  several  people.  He  was  a Confederate  and  he  was 
given  up,  hidden  here,  while  they  made  their  escape. 

Question:  What  rank  did  he  hold? 

Albert:  I believe  that  he  had  some  rank.  It  is  a little  dubi- 
ous as  to  what  he  was. 

Question:  What  was  his  name? 

Albert:  It  is  not  as  he  says.  That  is  an  assumed  name,  that 
he  likes  to  take.  He  is  not  as  yet  willing  to  give  full  particu- 
lars. He  is  a violent  soul  underneath  when  he  has  oppor- 
tunity to  come,  but  he  hasn't  done  damage  to  anyone,  and 
we  are  going  to  work  with  him,  if  possible,  from  this  side. 
Question:  What  about  Mignon  and  the  baby? 


CHAPTER  FIVE:  Famous  Ghosts 


Albert:  Well,  they  of  course  are  a long  time  on  this  side,  but 
he  never  knew  that,  what  became  of  them.  They  were  sep- 
arated cruelly.  She  did  not  do  anything  to  him. 

Question:  How  did  he  leave  this  world? 

Albert:  By  violence.  (Was  he  hanged?)  Yes.  (In  the  little 
room?)  Yes.  (Was  it  suicide  or  murder?)  He  says  it  was 
murder. 

* * * 

The  control  then  suggests  to  end  the  trance,  and  try 
for  results  in  “open”  sitting.  We  slowly  awaken  the 
medium. 

While  the  medium  is  resting,  sitter  Stanley  Goldberg 
remarks  that  he  has  the  impression  that  Guychone’s  father 
came  from  Scotland. 

Captain  Davis  observes  that  at  the  exact  moment  of 
“frequency  change”  in  the  medium,  that  is,  when  Guy- 
chone  left  and  Albert  took  over,  the  control  light  of  the 
recording  apparatus  suddenly  blazed  up  of  its  own  accord, 
and  had  to  be  turned  down  by  him. 

A standing  circle  was  then  formed  by  all  present, 
holding  hands,  and  taking  the  center  of  the  room.  Soon  the 
medium  started  swinging  forward  and  back  like  a sus- 
pended body.  She  remarked  feeling  very  stiff  “from  hang- 
ing and  surprised  to  find  that  I'm  whole,  having  been  cut 
open  in  the  middle.” 

Both  Axelrod  and  I observed  a luminescent  white  and 
greenish  glow  covering  the  medium,  creating  the  impres- 
sion of  an  older  man  without  hair,  with  high  cheekbones 
and  thin  arms.  This  was  during  the  period  when  Guychone 
was  speaking  through  the  medium. 

The  seance  ended  at  12:30.  The  medium  reported 
feeling  exhausted,  with  continued  discomfort  in  the  throat 
and  stomach. 

THE  INVESTIGATION  CONTINUES 

Captain  Davis,  unfortunately,  left  on  a worldwide  trip  the 
same  week,  and  the  new  tenant  was  uncooperative.  I felt 
we  should  continue  the  investigation.  Once  you  pry  a 
“ghost"  loose  from  his  place  of  unhappy  memories,  he  can 
sometimes  be  contacted  elsewhere. 

Thus,  a second  sitting  took  place  at  the  headquarters 
of  the  study  group,  on  West  1 6th  Street.  This  was  a small, 
normally-furnished  room  free  of  any  particular  atmosphere, 
and  throughout  this  and  all  following  sittings,  subdued 
light  was  used,  bright  enough  to  see  all  facial  expressions 
quite  clearly.  There  was  smoking  and  occasional  talking  in 
low  voices,  none  of  which  ever  disturbed  the  work.  Before 
the  second  sitting,  Mrs.  Meyers  remarked  that  Guychone 
had  “followed  her  home”  from  the  Fifth  Avenue  place,  and 
twice  appeared  to  her  at  night  in  a kind  of  “whitish  halo,” 
with  an  expression  of  frantic  appeal  in  his  eyes.  Upon  her 
admonition  to  be  patient  until  the  sitting,  the  apparition 
had  vanished. 


64 


Sitting  of  July  14th,  1953,  at  125  West  16th  Street 

Question:  Do  you  know  what  year  this  is? 

Guychone:  1873. 

Question:  No,  it  is  1953.  Eighty  years  have  gone  by.  You 
are  no  longer  alive.  Do  you  understand? 

Guychone:  Eighty  years?  EIGHTY  YEARS?  I’m  not  a 
hundred-ten  years? 

Question:  No,  you’re  not.  You’re  forever  young.  Mignon  is 
on  your  side,  too.  We  have  come  to  help  you  understand 
yourself.  What  happened  in  1873? 

Guychone:  Nobody’s  goddamn  business. . .mine. . .mine! 
Question:  All  right,  keep  your  secret  then,  but  don’t  you 
want  to  see  Mignon?  Don’t  you  want  justice  done?  (mad, 
bitter  laughter)  Don’t  you  believe  in  God?  (more  laughter) 
The  fact  you  are  here  and  are  able  to  speak,  doesn’t  that 
prove  that  there  is  hope  for  you?  What  happened  in  1873? 
Remember  the  house  on  Fifth  Avenue,  the  room  upstairs, 
the  horse  to  be  curried? 

Guychone:  Riding,  riding. . .find  her. . .they  took  her  away. 
Question:  Who  took  her  away? 

Guychone:  YOU!  (threatens  to  strike  interrogator) 

Question:  No,  we’re  your  friends.  Where  can  we  find  a 
record  of  your  Army  service?  Is  it  true  you  were  on  a dan- 
gerous mission? 

Guychone:  Yes. 

Question:  In  what  capacity? 

Guychone:  That  is  my  affair!  I do  not  divulge  my  secrets.  I 
am  a gentleman,  and  my  secrets  die  with  me. 

Question:  Give  us  your  rank. 

Guychone:  I was  a Colonel. 

Question:  In  what  regiment? 

Guychone:  Two  hundred  and  sixth. 

Question:  Were  you  infantry  or  cavalry? 

Guychone:  Cavalry. 

Question:  In  the  War  Between  the  States? 

Guychone:  Yes. 

Question:  Where  did  you  make  your  home  before  you  came 
to  New  York? 

Guychone:  Charleston. . .Elm  Street. 

Question:  What  is  your  family  name,  Colonel? 

Guychone:  (crying)  As  a gentleman,  I am  yet  not  ready  to 
give  you  that  information. . .it’s  no  use,  I won’t  name  it. 
Question:  You  make  it  hard  for  us,  but  we  will  abide  by 
your  wishes. 

Guychone:  (relieved)  I am  very  much  obliged  to  you. . .for 
giving  me  the  information  that  it  is  EIGHTY  YEARS.  Eighty 
years! 


I explain  about  the  house  on  Fifth  Avenue,  and  that 
Guychone ’s  “presence”  had  been  felt  from  time  to  time. 
Again,  I ask  for  his  name. 

(Apparently  fumbling  for  paper,  he  is  given  paper 
and  fountain  pen;  the  latter  seems  to  puzzle  him  at  first, 
but  he  then  writes  in  the  artistic,  stylized  manner  of  the 
mid-Victorian  age — ’’Edouard  Guychone.”) 

Question:  Is  your  family  of  French  extraction? 

Guychone:  Yes. 

Question:  Are  you  yourself  French  or  were  you  born  in  this 
country? 

Guychone:  In  this  country ..  .Charleston. 

Question:  Do  you  speak  French? 

Guychone:  No. 

Question:  Is  there  anything  you  want  us  to  do  for  you? 

Any  unfinished  business? 

Guychone:  Eighty  years  makes  a difference. . .1  am  a bro- 
ken man. . .God  bless  you. . .Mignon. . .it  is  so  dark,  so 
dark. . . . 

I explain  the  reason  for  his  finding  himself  temporar- 
ily in  a woman's  body,  and  how  his  hatred  had  brought  him 
back  to  the  house  on  Fifth  Avenue,  instead  of  passing  over 
to  the  “other  side.” 

Guychone:  (calmer)  There  IS  a God? 

I ask  when  was  he  born. 

Guychone:  (unsure)  1840. . .42  years  old. . . . 

This  was  the  most  dramatic  of  the  sittings.  The  tran- 
script cannot  fully  convey  the  tense  situation  existing 
between  a violent,  hate-inspired  and  God-denying  person- 
ality fresh  from  the  abyss  of  perennial  darkness,  and  an 
interrogator  trying  calmly  to  bring  light  into  a disturbed 
mind.  Toward  the  end  of  the  session,  Guychone  under- 
stood about  God,  and  began  to  realize  that  much  time  had 
passed  since  his  personal  tragedy  had  befallen  him.  Actu- 
ally, the  method  of  "liberating”  a ghost  is  no  different  from 
that  used  by  a psychiatrist  to  free  a flesh-and-blood  person 
from  obsessions  or  other  personality  disturbances.  Both 
deal  with  the  mind. 

It  became  clear  to  me  that  many  more  sessions  would 
be  needed  to  clear  up  the  case,  since  the  entity  was  reluc- 
tant to  tell  all.  This  is  not  the  case  with  most  "ghosts,” 
who  generally  welcome  a chance  to  “spill”  emotions  pent 
up  for  long  years  of  personal  hell.  Here,  however,  the 
return  of  reason  also  brought  back  the  critical  faculty  of 
reasoning,  and  evaluating  information.  We  had  begun  to 
liberate  Guychone’s  soul,  but  we  had  not  yet  penetrated  to 

The  Fifth  Avenue  Ghost 


65 


his  conscience.  Much  hatred,  fear,  and  pride  remained,  and 
had  to  be  removed,  before  the  true  personality  could 
emerge. 

Sitting  of  July  21st,  1953 

Albert,  the  medium’s  control,  spoke  first. 

Question:  Have  you  found  any  information  about  his  wife 
and  child? 

Albert:  You  understand  that  this  is  our  moral  code,  that 
that  which  comes  from  the  individual  within  voluntarily  is 
his  sacred  development.  That  which  he  wishes  to  divulge 
makes  his  soul  what  it  should  eventually  be. 

I asked  that  he  describe  Guychone’s  appearance  to 
us. 

Albert:  At  the  moment  he  is  little  developed  from  the 
moment  of  passing.  He  is  still  like  his  latter  moments  in 
life.  But  his  figure  was  of  slight  build,  tall. . .five  feet  nine 
or  ten. . .his  face  is  round,  narrow  at  the  chin,  high  at  the 
cheekbones,  the  nose  is  rather  prominent,  the  mouth  rather 
wide. . .the  forehead  high,  at  the  moment  of  death  and  for 
many  years  previous  very  little  hair.  The  eyes  set  close  to 
the  nose. 

Question:  Have  you  learned  his  real  name? 

Albert:  It  is  not  his  wish  as  yet.  He  will  tell  you,  he  will 
develop  his  soul  through  his  confession.  Here  he  is! 

Guychone:  (at  first  grimacing  in  pain)  It  is  nice  to  come, 
but  it  is  hell. . .1  have  seen  the  light.  It  was  so  dark. 

Question:  Your  name,  sir? 

Guychone:  I was  a gentleman. . .my  name  was  defiled.  I 
cannot  see  it,  I cannot  hear  it,  let  me  take  it,  when  it  is 
going  to  be  right.  I have  had  to  pay  for  it;  she  has  paid  her 
price.  I have  been  so  happy.  I have  moved  about.  I have 
learned  to  right  wrongs.  I have  seen  the  light. 

Question:  I am  going  to  open  your  eyes  now.  Look  at  the 
calendar  before  you,  and  tell  me  what  is  the  date  on  it? 
(placing  calendar) 

Guychone:  1953....  (pointing  at  the  tape  recorder  in 
motion)  Wagon  wheels! 

Question:  Give  us  the  name  of  one  of  your  fellow  officers 
in  the  war.  Write  it  down. 

Guychone:  Iamapoor soul....  (writes:  Mignonmy 
wife. . .Guychone)  Oh,  my  feet,  oh  my  feet. . .they  hurt 
me  so  now.  ..they  bleed.  ..I  have  to  always  go  backwards, 
backwards.  What  shall  I do  with  my  feet?  They  had  no 
shoes. . .we  walked  over  burning  weed. . .they  burned  the 
weed. . .(Who?)  The  Damyankees. . .1  wake  up,  I see  the 

CHAPTER  FIVE:  Famous  Ghosts 
66 


burning  weed — (Where?  When?)  I have  to  reach  out,  I 
have  so  much  to  reach  for,  have  patience  with  me,  I can 
only  reach  so  far — I’ll  forget.  I will  tell  you  everything. 
(Where?)  Georgia!  Georgia!  (Did  you  fight  under  General 
Lee?)  I fell  under  him.  (Did  you  die  under  him?)  No,  no. 
Question:  Who  was  with  you  in  the  regiment? 

Guychone:  Johnny  Greenly. . .it  is  like  another 
world. . .Jerome  Harvey.  (Who  was  the  surgeon?)  I did  not 
see  him.  Horse  doctors.  (Who  was  your  orderly?)  Wal- 
ter. . .my  boy.  . I can’t  tell  the  truth,  and  I try  so  hard. . . . 

I will  come  with  the  truth  when  it  comes,  you  see  the 
burning  weeds  came  to  me. . . I will  think  of  happier  things 
to  tell. . .I’d  like  to  tell  you  about  the  house  in  Charleston, 
on  Elm  Street.  I think  it  is  320,  I was  born  in  it. 

Question:  Any  others  in  the  family? 

Guychone:  Two  brothers.  They  died.  They  were  in  the  war 
with  me.  I was  the  eldest.  William,  and  Paul.  (And  you're 
Edward?)  Yes.  (Your  mother?)  Mary.  (Your  father?) 
Frederick.  (Where  was  he  born?)  Charleston.  (Your  moth- 
er’s maiden  name?)  Ah. . . ! (Where  did  you  go  to  college?) 
William. . .William  and. . .a  white  house  with  green  grass. 
(When  did  you  graduate?)  Fifty-three. . .ONE  HUNDRED 
YEARS — It  is  hard  to  get  into  those  corners  where  I can’t 
think  any  more. 

"I  never  had  my  eyes  open  before,  in  trance,” 
observed  Mrs.  Meyers  afterwards.  ‘‘While  I could  look  at 
you  and  you  looked  like  yourself,  I could  almost  look 
through  you.  That  never  happened  before.  I could  only  see 
what  I focused  on.  This  machine. . .it  seemed  the  wheels 
were  going  much,  much  faster  than  they  are  going  now.” 

* * * 

On  July  25th,  1953,  a "planchette”  session  was  held 
at  the  home  of  Mrs.  Meyers,  with  herself  and  the  late  Mrs. 
Zoe  Britton  present,  during  which  Guychone  made  himself 
known,  and  stated  that  he  had  a living  son,  89  years  old, 
now  living  in  a place  called  Seymour,  West  Virginia. 

EVIDENTIAL  MATERIAL  BEGINS  TO  PILE  UP 

By  now  we  knew  we  had  an  unusual  case.  I went  through 
all  the  available  material  on  this  period  (and  there  is  a lot), 
without  turning  up  anyone  named  Guychone. 

These  were  extremely  hot  afternoons,  but  the  quest 
went  on.  Rarely  has  any  psychic  researcher  undertaken  a 
similarly  protracted  project  to  hunt  down  psychic  evidence. 

Sitting  of  July  28th,  1953 

Finding  a St.  Michael’s  medal  around  my  neck,  Guychone 
says  it  reminds  him  of  a medal  of  St.  Anne,  which  his 
‘Huguenot  mother,”  Marie  Guychone,  had  given  him. 

Question:  Do  you  remember  the  name  of  your  college? 


Guychone:  Two  colleges.  St.  Anne’s  in  Charleston,  South 
Carolina. ...  Only  one  thought  around  another,  that’s  all  I 
had — curry  the  horses.  Why?  I know  now.  I remember.  I 
want  to  say  my  mother  is  here,  I saw  her,  she  says  God 
bless  you.  I understand  more  now.  Thank  you.  Pray  for 
me. 

Sitting  of  August  4th,  1953 

This  sitting  repeated  previous  information  and  consisted  in 
a cat-and-mouse  game  between  Guychone  and  myself. 
However,  toward  the  end,  Guychone  began  to  speak  of  his 
son  Gregory,  naming  him  for  the  first  time.  He  asked  us  to 
find  him.  We  asked,  “What  name  does  Gregory  use?” 
Guychone  casually  answered:  “I  don’t 
know. . .Guychone. . .maybe  McGowan. ...”  The  name 
McGowan  came  very  quietly,  but  sufficiently  distinct  to  be 
heard  by  all  present.  At  the  time,  we  were  not  over- 
whelmed. Only  when  research  started  to  yield  results  did 
we  realize  that  it  was  his  real  name  at  last.  But  I was  not 
immediately  successful  in  locating  McGowan  on  the  regi- 
mental rosters,  far  from  it!  I was  misled  by  his  statement  of 
having  served  in  the  cavalry,  and  naturally  gave  the  cavalry 
rosters  my  special  attention,  but  he  wasn’t  in  them.  Late  in 
August  I went  through  the  city  records  of  Charleston, 

West  Virginia,  on  a futile  search  for  the  Guychone  family, 
assuming  still  that  they  were  his  in-laws.  Here  I found 
mention  of  a “McGowan’s  Brigade.” 

Sitting  of  August  18th,  1953 

Question:  Please  identify  yourself,  Colonel. 

McGowan:  Yes. . .Edward. . .1  can  stay?  I can  stay? 

Question:  Why  do  you  want  so  much  to  stay?  Are  you  not 
happy  where  you  are? 

McGowan:  Oh  yes.  But  I like  to  talk  very  much. . .how 
happy  I am. 

Question:  What  was  your  mother’s  name? 

McGowan:  Marie  Guychone. 

Question:  What  is  your  name? 

McGowan:  Guychone. 

Question:  Yes;  that  is  the  name  you  used,  but  you  really 
are...? 

McGowan:  Edward  Mac. . .Mac. . .curry  the  horses! 

(excited,  is  calmed  by  me)  Yes,  I see. . .Mac. . .McGowan! 

I remember  more  now,  but  I can  only  tell  what  I 
know. . .it  is  like  a wall. . .1  remember  a dark  night,  I was 
crazy. . .war  on  one  hand,  fighting,  bullets. . .and  then,  fly- 
ing away,  chasing,  chasing,  chasing. . . . 

Question:  What  regiment  were  you  with? 

McGowan:  Six. . .two. . .sometimes  horse. . .oh,  in  that 
fire.... 


Question:  Who  was  your  commanding  general? 

McGowan:  But — Butler. 

He  then  speaks  of  his  service  in  two  regiments,  one 
of  which  was  the  Sixth  South  Carolina  Regiment,  and  he 
mentions  a stand  on  a hill,  which  was  hell,  with  the 
Damyankees  on  all  sides.  He  says  it  was  at  Chattanooga. 

* * * 

Question:  The  house  on  Fifth  Avenue,  New  York. . .do 
you  remember  the  name  of  your  landlord? 

McGowan:  A woman. . .Elsie  (or  L.  C.). . .stout. ... 

Actually,  he  says,  a man  collected  the  rent,  which  he 
had  trouble  paying  at  times.  He  knew  a man  named  Pat 
Duffy  in  New  York.  He  was  the  man  who  worked  for  his 
landlady,  collecting  the  rent,  coming  to  his  door. 

During  the  interrogation  about  his  landlord, 

McGowan  suddenly  returns  to  his  war  experiences.  “There 
was  a Griffin,”  he  says,  referring  to  an  officer  he  knew. 

Sitting  of  August  25th,  1953 

“The  Colonel,”  as  we  now  called  him,  came  through  very 
clearly.  He  introduced  himself  by  his  true  name.  Asked 
again  about  the  landlady  in  New  York,  he  now  adds  that 
she  was  a widow.  Again,  he  speaks  of  “Griff. . .Griff. ...” 
Asked  what  school  he  went  to,  he  says  "St.  Anne’s  College 
in  Charleston,  South  Carolina,  and  also  William  and  Mary 
College  in  Virginia,  the  latter  in  1850,  51,  52,  53,  54.” 

What  was  his  birthday?  He  says  "February  10,  1830.”  Did 
he  write  any  official  letters  during  the  war?  He  says,  "I 
wrote  to  General  Robert  E.  Lee.”  What  about?  When? 
“January,  1864.  Atlanta....  I needed  horses,  horses,  wheels 
to  run  the  things  on.”  Did  you  get  them?  “No.”  What  reg- 
iment was  he  with  then?  “The  Sixth  from  South  Carolina.” 
But  wasn’t  he  from  West  Virginia?  Amazed,  McGowan 
says,  "No,  from  South  Carolina.” 

I then  inquired  about  his  family  in  New  York. 
McGowan  explained  that  his  mother  did  live  with 
him  there,  and  died  there,  but  after  his  own  death  “they” 
went  away,  including  his  sister-in-law  Gertrude  and 
brother  William.  Again,  he  asks  that  we  tell  his  son 
Gregory  “that  his  father  did  not  do  away  with  himself." 

I asked,  "Where  is  there  a true  picture  of  you?” 
McGowan  replied,  "There  is  one  in  the  courthouse  in 
Charleston,  South  Carolina."  What  kind  of  a picture? 

“Etch. . .etch. . .tintype!" 

All  through  these  sittings  it  was  clear  that 
McGowan’s  memory  was  best  when  "pictures”  or  scenes 
were  asked  for,  and  worst  when  precise  names  or  dates 
were  being  requested.  He  was  never  sure  when  he  gave  a 
figure,  but  was  very  sure  of  his  facts  when  he  spoke  of  sit- 

The  Fifth  Avenue  Ghosts 


67 


uations  or  relationships.  Thus,  he  gave  varying  dates  for 
his  own  birthday,  making  it  clear  that  he  was  hazy  about 
it,  not  even  aware  of  having  given  discrepant  information 
within  a brief  period. 

But  then,  if  a living  person  undergoes  a severe  shock, 
is  he  not  extremely  hazy  about  such  familiar  details  as  his 
name  or  address?  Yet,  most  shock  victims  can  describe  their 
house,  or  their  loved  ones.  The  human  memory,  appar- 
ently, is  more  reliable  in  terms  of  associations,  when  under 
stress,  than  in  terms  of  factual  information,  like  names  and 
figures. 

By  now  research  was  in  full  swing,  and  it  is  fortunate 
that  so  much  prima  facie  evidence  was  obtained  before  the 
disclosure  of  McGowan’s  true  name  started  the  material 
flowing.  Thus,  the  old  and  somewhat  tiring  argument  of 
“mental  telepathy”  being  responsible  for  some  of  the  infor- 
mation can  only  be  applied,  if  at  all,  to  a part  of  the  sit- 
tings. No  one  can  read  facts  in  a mind  before  they  get  into 
that  mind! 

The  sittings  continued  in  weekly  sessions,  with 
Colonel  McGowan  rapidly  becoming  our  “star”  visitor. 

Sitting  of  September  1st,  1953 

Question:  What  was  your  rank  at  the  end  of  the  war? 
McGowan:  That  was  on  paper. . .made  to  serve. 

Question:  Did  you  become  a general? 

McGowan:  Naw. . .honors. . .1  take  empty  honors. 

Question:  When  you  went  to  school,  what  did  you  study? 
McGowan:  The  law  of  the  land. 

Question:  What  happened  at  Manassas? 

McGowan:  Oh... defeat.  Defeat. 

Question:  What  happened  to  you  personally  at  Manassas? 
McGowan:  Ah,  cut,  cut.  Bayonets.  Ah.  Blood,  blood. 
Question:  What  happened  at  Malvern  Hill? 

McGowan:  Success.  We  took  the  house.  Low  brick  build- 
ing. We  wait.  They  come  up  and  we  see  right  in  the 
mouth  of  a cannon.  1864.  They  burned  the  house  around 
our  ears.  But  we  didn’t  move.  v 

Question:  What  was  under  your  command  at  that  time? 
McGowan:  Two  divisions. 

Question:  How  many  regiments? 

McGowan:  Four. . .forty. . .(Four?)  TEEN! 

Question:  What  did  you  command? 

McGowan:  My  commander  was  shot  down,  I take  over. 
(Who  for?)  John. . .Major. ... 

Question:  Listen,  Colonel,  your  name  is  not  Edward.  Is 
there  any  other  first  or  middle  name  you  used?  (Silence) 


CHAPTER  FIVE:  Famous  Ghosts 
68 


Did  anyone  of  high  rank  serve  from  South  Carolina?  (My 
brother  William)  Anyone  else?  (Paul) 

McGowan:  Do  you  think  of  Charles  McGowan?  That  was 
no  relation  of  mine.  He  was  on  the  waterfront.  He 
was...  exporter. 

Question:  Were  you  at  Gettysburg,  Colonel?  (Yes.)  What 
regiments  were  under  your  command  then? 

McGowan:  I had  a wound  at  Gettysburg.  I was  very  tom. 
(Where  did  you  get  the  wound?)  Atlanta. . .change  of  rank. 
Empty  honors  (About  his  son  Gregory)  Seymour. . .many 
years  Lowell,  Massachusetts,  and  then  he  went  back  down 
South,  Seymour,  South  Carolina,  and  sometimes  West 
Virginia. . .he  was  in  a store,  he  left  and  then  he  came  into 
property,  mother  also  had  property,  down  there  near 
Charleston  in  West  Virginia. . .that  is  where  he  is,  yes. 

Question:  You  say  your  father  was  Frederick?  (Yes.)  Who 
was  William.  (My  brother.)  Who  was  Samuel?  (Long 
pause,  stunned,  then:  I wrote  that  name!)  Why  didn’t  you 
tell  us?  (Crying:  I didn  t want  to  tell — ) Tell  us  your  true 
rank,  too.  (I  don’t  care  what  it  was).  Please  don’t  evade  us. 
What  was  your  rank?  (Brigadier. . .General).  Then  you  are 
General  Samuel  McGowan? 

McGowan:  You  made  me  very  unhappy ..  .such  a name 
(crying). . .blood,  empty  honors. . . . 

Question:  Who  was  James  Johnson?  (My  commander.) 
What  happened  to  him?  (Indicates  he  was  shot.)  Who  took 
over  for  Johnson?  (I  did.)  What  regiment  was  it? 

McGowan:  I don’t  know  the  figures. . .1  don’t  know. 
Question:  Your  relative  in  New  York,  what  was  his  name? 
McGowan:  Peter  Paul. 

Question:  What  was  his  profession? 

McGowan:  A doctor.  (Any  particular  kind  of  doctor?) 

Cuts.  (What  kind?)  (McGowan  points  to  face.)  (Nose  doc- 
tor?) (McGowan  points  to  mouth  and  shakes  head.) 

(Mouth  doctor?)  (McGowan  violently  grabs  his  teeth  and 
shakes  them.)  (Oh,  teeth?  A dentist)  (McGowan  nods 
assent.) 

Question:  I will  name  some  regiments,  tell  me  if  any  of 
them  mean  anything  to  you.  The  10th. . .the  34th. . .the 
14th. ..(McGowan  reacts?)  The  14th?  Does  it  mean  any- 
thing to  you? 

McGowan:  I don  t know,  figures  don’t  mean  anything  on 
this  side.... 


SOME  INTERESTING  FACTS 
BROUGHT  OUT  BY  RESEARCH 

In  the  sitting  of  August  1 8th,  McGowan  stated  his  land- 
lord was  a woman  and  that  her  name  was  “Elsie”  or  L.  C. 
The  Hall  of  Records  of  New  York  City  lists  the  owner  of 
226  Fifth  Avenue  as  "Isabella  S.  Clarke,  from  1853  to  (at 
least)  March  1,  1871.”  In  the  same  sitting,  McGowan 
stated  that  Pat  Duffy  was  the  man  who  actually  came  to 


The  house  today 


collect  the  rent,  working  for  the  landlady.  Several  days  after 
this  information  was  voluntarily  received  from  the  entity,  I 
found  in  Trow’s  New  York  Directory  for  1869/70: 

Page  195:  ‘‘Clark,  Isabella,  wid.  Constantine  h. 

(house)  45  Cherry.” 

Page  309:  “Duffy,  Patrick,  laborer,  45  Cherry.” 

This  could  be  known  only  to  someone  who  actually 
knew  these  people,  80  years  ago;  it  proved  our  ghost  was 
there  in  1873! 

The  sitting  of  September  1st  also  proved  fruitful. 

A “Peter  McGowan,  dentist,  253  W.  13  St.”  appears 
in  Trow’s  New  York  City  Directory  for  1870/71. 

J.  F.  J.  Caldwell,  in  his  "History  of  a Brigade  of  South 
Carolinians  known  first  as  Gregg  's,  and  subsequently  as 
McGowan’s  Brigade,”  (Philadelphia,  1866)  reports: 

Page  10:  “The  14th  Regiment  South  Carolina  Volun- 
teers selected  for  field  officers. . .Col.  James  Jones,  Lt.  Col. 
Samuel  McGowan. . .(1861).” 

Page  12:  “Colonel  Samuel  McGowan  commands  the 
14th  Regiment.” 

Page  18:  “McGowan  arrives  from  the  Chicka- 
hominy  river  (under  Lee).” 

Page  24:  “Conspicuous  gallantry  in  the  battle  of 
Malvern  Hill.” 

Page  37:  “...of  the  11  field  officers  of  our  brigade, 
seven  were  wounded:  Col.  McGowan,  etc.  (in  the  2nd  bat- 
tle of  Manassas) . ” 

Page  53:  “Col.  Samuel  McGowan  of  the  14th  Regi- 
ment (at  Fredericksburg).” 

Page  60:  “The  13th  and  14th  regiments  under 
McGowan....” 


Page  61:  “Gen.  Gregg’s  death  Dec.  14,  1862. 
McGowan  succeeds  to  command.” 

Page  66:  “Biography:  Born  Laurens  district,  S.C. 

1820.  Graduated  1841  South  Carolina  College,  Law;  in 
Mexican  War,  then  settled  as  lawyer  in  Abbeville,  S.C. 
Became  a Brig.  Gen.  January  20,  1863,  assists  in  taking  Ft. 
Sumter  April  1861;  but  lapsing  commission  as  General  in 
State  Militia,  he  becomes  Lt.  Col.  in  the  Confederate 
Army,  takes  part  at  Bull  Run,  Manassas  Plains,  under 
Gen.  Bonham.  Then  elected  Lt.  Col.  of  14th  Regiment, 
S.C.;  Spring  1862,  made  full  Col.  succeeding  Col.  Jones  who 
was  killed.  McGowan  is  wounded  in  battle  of  Manassas.” 
Biographer  Caldwell,  who  was  McGowan's  aide  as  a lieu- 
tenant, says  (in  1866)  “he  still  lives.” 

Page  79:  "April  29,  1863,  McGowan’s  Brigade  gets 
orders  to  be  ready  to  march.  Gen.  McGowan  commands 
the  brigade.” 

Page  80:  “Wounded  again  (Fredericksburg).” 

Page  89:  "Gen.  Lee  reviews  troops  including 
McGowan’s.  Brigade  now  consists  of  1st,  12th,  13th,  14th 
Regiments  and  Orr’s  Rifles.  Also  known  as  ‘McGowan’s 
Sharpshooters.”' 

Page  91:  “McGowan  takes  part  in  battle  of 
Chancellorsville 

Page  96:  “Battle  of  Gettysburg:  McGowan  commands 
13th,  12th,  14th,  and  1st.” 

Page  110:  "McGowan  near  Culpepper  Courthouse.” 

Page  122:  “Gen.  McGowan  returned  to  us  in  Febru- 
ary (1864).  He  had  not  sufficiently  recovered  from  the 


The  Fifth  Avenue  Ghost 


69 


wound  received  at  Chancellorsville  to  walk  well,  but 
remained  with  us  and  discharged  all  the  duties  of  his 
office.” 

Page  125:  About  Butler:  ‘‘Butler  to  lead  column 
(against  McGowan)  from  the  Eastern  coast.”  Another 
Butler  (Col.)  commanded  the  Confederate  1st  Regt.  (Battle 
of  Chickamauga) 

Page  126sq.:  “Battle  of  Spottsyl vania,  May  1864.” 
Page  133:  “Gen.  Lee  and  Gen.  Hill  were  there 
(defeat).” 

Page  142:  “McGowan  wounded  by  a 'minie  ball,’  in 
the  right  arm,  quits  field.” 

But  to  continue  with  our  sittings,  and  with 
McGowan’s  personal  recollections — 

Sitting  of  September  8th,  1953 

McGowan:  (speaking  again  of  his  death)  It  was  in  the 
forties. . .they  killed  me  on  the  top  floor.  They  dragged  me 
up,  that  ‘man  of  color’  named  Walter.  He  was  a giant  of  a 
man.  She  was  a virtuous  woman,  I tell  you  she  was.  But 
they  would  not  believe  it. 

I wanted  to  get  his  reaction  to  a name  I had  found  in 
the  records,  so  I asked,  “Have  you  ever  met  a 
McWilliams?” 

McGowan:  You  have  the  knowledge  of  the  devil  with  you. 
Her  family  name. 

Question:  Did  you  stay  in  New  York  until  your  passing? 

McGowan:  1869,  1873.  Back  and  forth.  I have  written  to 
Lee,  Jackson,  James,  and  Beaufort.  1862-63,  March. 

Question:  What  did  you  do  at  the  end  of  the  war? 

McGowan:  Back  and  forth,  always  on  the  go.  Property  was 
gone,  ruined.  Plantations  burned.  I did  not  work.  I could 
not.  Three  or  four  bad  years.  I quit.  My  wits,  my  wits.  My 
uncle.  The  house  was  burned  in  Charleston.  Sometimes 
Columbia.  (Then,  of  Mignon,  his  wife,  he  says)  She  died 
in  1892. . .Francois  Guychone. . .he  was  so  good  to  little 
boys,  he  made  excursions  in  the  Bay  of  Charleston — we 
sailed  in  boats.  He  was  my  uncle. 

Sitting  of  September  15th,  1953 

I asked,  what  did  he  look  like  in  his  prime. 

McGowan:  I wasn’t  too  bad  to  look  at,  very  good  brow, 
face  to  the  long,  and  at  one  time  I indulged  in  the 
whiskers. . .not  so  long,  for  the  chin. . .colonial. . .1  liked  to 
see  my  chin  a good  deal,  sometimes  I cover  (indicates  mus- 
tache)  


CHAPTER  FIVE:  Famous  Ghosts 
70 


Question:  What  can  you  tell  us  about  the  cemetery  in 
Abbeville? 

McGowan:  There  is  a monument,  the  family  cemetery. . . 
nobody  cared. . .my  father  was  born  the  fifth  of  January. . . . 
(What  was  on  your  tombstone?)  Samuel  Edward 
McGowan,  born. . .32?. . .died  1883?  1873?  1-8-7  hard  to 
read,  so  dirty.,  .age  40. . .41 . ..gray-brown  stars. . .bat- 
tered.. . . I go  between  the  bushes,  I look  at  the  monument 
it's  defaced.... 

Question:  What  news  did  your  family  give  out  of  your 
death? 

McGowan:  Foul  play.  (What  happened  to  the  body?) 
Cremated  I guess,  I think  in  this  city.  The  remains  were 

destroyed:  not  in  the  grave,  a monument  to  a memory 

(What  did  they  tell  the  public?)  Lost  forever. . .1  could 
have  been  at  sea. . .house  was  destroyed  by  fire. . . . (Do  you 
mean  there  is  no  official  record  of  your  death?)  No.  Not 
identical  to  passing,  they  never  told  the  exact  month  or 
day... I see...  1879... very  blurred... September  4th. ... 

Question:  Were  you  ever  injured  in  an  argument? 

McGowan  : I spent  much  time  on  my  back  because  of  a 
wound. . .on  my  head.  (An  argument?)  Yes.  (With  whom?) 
A man.  Hand  to  hand.  Rapier — Glen,  Glen. . .Ardmore. 

Sitting  of  September  22nd,  1953 

"Mother”  Marie  Guychone  spoke  briefly  in  French  and 
was  followed  by  McGowan.  He  said  he  was  at  one  time  “an 
associate  Justice”  in  the  city  of  Columbia. 

Here  again  do  I wish  to  report  some  more  research 
information  bearing  on  this  part  of  the  investigation. 

Evans,  in  his  Confederate  Military  History,  1899*  has  a pic- 
ture of  the  General  which  became  available  to  us  after  the 
September  22nd  sitting.  His  biography,  on  page  414,  men- 
tions the  fact  that  “he  was  associate  Justice  of  the  (State) 
Supreme  Court.”  Curiously,  this  author  also  states  that 
McGowan  died  in  "December  1893.”  Careful  scrutiny  of 
two  major  New  York  dailies  then  existing  ( Post  and  Times) 
brought  to  light  that  the  author  of  the  Confederate  Military 
History  made  a mistake,  albeit  an  understandable  one.  A 
certain  Ned  McGowan,  described  as  a “notorious  character, 
aged  80”  had  died  in  San  Francisco  on  December  9,  1893. 
This  man  was  also  a Confederate  hero.  (The  New  York 
Times,  XII/9).  However,  the  same  source  ( The  New  York 
Times,  August  13,  1897)  reports  General  McGowan’s  death 
as  having  occurred  on  the  9th  of  August,  1897.  The  obitu- 
ary contains  the  facts  already  noted  in  the  biography 
quoted  earlier,  plus  one  interesting  additional  detail,  that 
McGowan  received  a cut  across  the  scalp  in  a duel. 

Another  good  source,  The  Dictionary  of  American 
Biography,  says  of  our  subject:  “McGowan,  Samuel.  Son  of 
William  and  Jeannie  McGowan,  law  partner  of  William  H. 
Parker.  Died  August  9,  1897  in  Abbeville.  Buried  in  Long 

*Vol.  V.,  p.  409. 


Cane  Cemetery  in  Abbeville.  Born  Oct.  9,  1819  in 
Crosshill  section  of  Laurens  district,  S.  C.  Mother’s  name 
was  McWilliams.  Law  partner  of  Perrin  in  Abbeville.  Rep- 
resentative in  State  House  of  South  Carolina.  Elected  to 
Congress,  but  not  seated." 

A Colonel  at  Gettysburg,  by  Varina  Brown,  about  her 
late  husband  Colonel  Brown,  contains  the  following:  “In 
the  battle  of  Jericho  Mills,  ‘Griffin’s  Division'  of  Federals 
wrought  havoc  against  McGowan’s  Brigade.” 

Correspondence  with  Mrs.  William  Gaynes,  a resident 
of  Abbeville,  revealed  on  October  1st,  1953 — "The  old 
general  was  a victim  of  the  failing  mind  but  he  was  doctored 
up  until  the  date  of  his  death.  He  was  attended  by  his 
cousin  Dr.  F.  E.  Harrison." 

Eminent  & Representative  Men  of  South  Carolina  by 
Brant  & Fuller  (Madison,  Wisconsin,  1892)  gives  this 
picture: 

Samuel  McGowan  was  born  of  Scotch  Irish  parents  in 
Laurens  County,  S.  C.  on  October  9th,  1819.  Graduated 
with  distinction  from  the  South  Carolina  College  in 
1841.  Read  law  at  Abbeville  withT.  C.  Perrin  who 
offered  him  a partnership.  He  entered  the  service  as  a 
private  and  went  to  Mexico  with  the  Palmetto  Regi- 
ment. He  was  appointed  on  the  general  Quartermaster’s 
Staff  with  the  rank  of  Captain.  After  the  war  he 
returned  to  Abbeville  and  resumed  the  practice  of  law 
withT.  C.  Perrin.  He  married  Susan  Caroline,  eldest 
daughter  of  Judge  David  Lewis  Wardlaw  and  they  lived 
in  Abbeville  until  some  years  after  the  death  of  Gen. 
McGowan  in  1897.  The  home  of  Gen.  McGowan  still 
stands  in  Abbeville  and  was  sold  some  time  ago  to  the 
Baptist  Church  for  50,000  dollars. ...  After  the  war  he 
entered  law  practice  with  William  H.  Parker 
(1869/1879)  in  Abbeville.  He  took  an  interest  in  political 
affairs. . .member  of  the  Convention  that  met  in  Colum- 
bia in  September,  1865.  Elected  to  Congress  but  not 
allowed  to  take  his  seat.  Counted  out  on  the  second 
election  two  years  later.  In  1878  he  was  a member  of  the 
State  Legislature  and  in  1 879  he  was  elected  Associate 
Justice  of  the  State  Supreme  Court. 

General  McGowan  lived  a long  and  honorable  life  in 
* Abbeville.  He  was  a contributing  member  of  the  Episcopal 

Church,  Trinity,  and  became  a member  later  in  life. 

At  his  death  the  following  appeared  in  the  Abbeville 
Medium,  edited  by  Gen.  R.  R.  Hemphill  who  had 
served  in  McGowan’s  Brigade.  "General  Samuel 
McGowan  died  at  his  home  in  this  city  at  8:35  o’clock 
last  Monday  morning  August  8th.  Full  of  years  and 

i honors  he  passed  away  surrounded  by  his  family  and 

friends.  He  had  been  in  declining  health  for  some  time 
and  suffered  intense  pain,  though  his  final  sickness  was 
for  a few  days  only  and  at  the  end  all  was  Peace. 

Impressive  services  were  held  in  Trinity  Church  Tuesday 
afternoon,  at  four  o’clock,  the  procession  starting  from 
the  residence.  At  the  Church,  the  procession... preceded 
by  Dr.  Wm.  M.  Grier  and  Bishop  Ellison  Capers  who 
read  the  solemn  service. . .directly  behind  the  coffin  old 
Daddy  Willis  Marshall,  a colored  man  who  had  served 
him  well,  bore  a laurel  wreath.  Gen.  McGowan  was 


buried  at  Long  Lane,  cemetery  and  there  is  a handsome 
stone  on  the  plot.” 

Mrs.  William  Gaynes  further  reports: 

Gen.  McGowan  had  a 'fine  line  of  profanity’  and 
used  it  frequently  in  Court.  He  was  engaged  in  a duel 
once  with  Col.  John  Cunningham  and  was  wounded 
behind  one  ear  and  came  near  passing  out.  Col.  Cun- 
ningham challenged  Col.  Perrin  who  refused  the  chal- 
lenge on  the  ground  that  he  did  not  approve  of  dueling, 
and  Gen.  McGowan  took  up  the  challenge  and  the  duel 
took  place  at  Sand  Bar  Ferry,  near  Augusta,  with 
McGowan  being  wounded. 

As  far  as  I know,  there  was  never  any  difficulty 
between  Mrs.  McGowan  and  the  old  General.  His 
father-in-law,  Judge  Wardlaw,  married  Sarah  Rebecca 
Allen,  and  her  mother  was  Mary  Lucia  Garvey. 

In  other  words,  Judge  Wardlaw  married  Sarah 
Garvey. 

Mrs.  Gaynes  continues:  "I  have  seen  him  frequently 
on  his  way  to  his  law  office,  for  he  had  to  pass  right  by  our 
office.  If  he  ever  was  out  of  town  for  any  length  of  time, 
Abbeville  did  not  know  it." 

The  inscription  on  Samuel  McGowan’s  tombstone  in 
Long  Cane  Graveyard  reads  as  follows: 

“Samuel  McGowan,  born  Laurens  County  9 October 
1819.  Died  in  Abbeville  9 August  1897.  Go  soldier  to  thy 
honored  rest,  thy  trust  and  honor  valor  bearing.  The  brave 
are  the  tenderest,  the  loving  are  the  daring.” 

Side  2:  “From  humble  birth  he  rose  to  the  highest 
honor  in  Civic  and  military  life.  A patriot  and  a leader  of 
men.  In  peace  his  country  called  him,  he  waited  not  to  her 
call  in  war.  A man’s  strength,  a woman’s  tenderness,  a 
child’s  simplicity  were  his  and  his  a heart  of  charity  fulfill- 
ing the  law  of  love.  He  did  good  and  not  evil  all  the  days 
of  his  life  and  at  its  end  his  country  his  children  and  his 
children’s  children  rise  up  and  call  him  blessed.  In  Mexi- 
can War  1846-1848.  A Captain  in  United  States  Army. 
The  Confederate  War  1861-1865.  A Brigadier  General 
C.S.A.  Member  of  the  Legislature  1848-1850.  Elected  to 
Congress  1866.  Associate  Justice  of  Supreme  Court  of 
South  Carolina  1878-1894.  A hero  in  two  wars.  Seven 
times  wounded.  A leader  at  the  Bar,  a wise  law  giver,  a 
righteous  judge.  He  rests  from  his  labors  and  his  works  do 
follow  him.” 

McGOWAN  BECOMES  A “REGULAR” 

OF  THE  WEEKLY  SITTINGS 

General  McGowan  had  by  now  become  an  always  impa- 
tient weekly  "guest”  at  our  sittings,  and  he  never  liked  the 
idea  of  leaving.  Whenever  it  was  suggested  that  time  was 


The  Fifth  Avenue  Ghost 


71 


running  short,  McGowan  tried  to  prolong  his  stay  by 
becoming  suddenly  very  talkative. 

Sitting  of  September  29th,  1953 

A prepared  list  of  eight  names,  all  fictitious  but  one  (the 
sixth  is  that  of  Susan  Wardlaw,  McGowan’s  wife)  is  read 
to  him  several  times.  McGowan  reacts  to  two  of  the  nonex- 
istent names,  but  not  to  the  one  of  his  wife.  One  of  the  fic- 
titious names  is  John  D.  Sumter,  to  which  McGowan 
mumbles,  “Colonel.”  Fact  is,  there  was  a Colonel  Sumter 
in  the  Confederate  Army! 

McGowan  also  described  in  detail  the  farm  where  his 
son  Gregory  now  lives.  Asked  about  the  name  Guychone, 
he  says  it  comes  from  Louisiana;  Mignon,  on  her  mother’s 
side,  had  it.  He  identifies  his  hometown  newspapers  as 
“Star-Press.”  (“Star-Press,  paper,  picture,  Judge,  Columbia, 
picture  in  paper....”) 

Question:  Who  was  Dr.  Harrison? 

McGowan:  Family  doctor. 

Question:  Is  your  home  in  Abbeville  still  standing? 

McGowan:  It  isn’t  what  it  was.  Strange  pictures  and  things. 
(Anyone  live  in  it?)  No.  Strange  things,  guns  and  cannons. 

Sitting  of  October  14th,  1953 

McGowan  says  he  had  two  daughters.  Trying  again  to  read 
his  tombstone,  he  says,  "1887,  or  is  it  97?”  As  to  his  birth 
year,  he  reads,  “1821.  ...31?” 

Sitting  of  October  20th,  1953 

When  the  control  introduces  McGowan,  there  is  for  sever- 
al moments  intense  panic  and  fear  brought  on  by  a metal 
necklace  worn  by  the  medium.  When  McGowan  is  assured 
that  there  is  no  longer  any  “rope  around  his  neck,”  he 
calms  down,  and  excuses  himself  for  his  regression. 

Question:  Who  was  the  Susan  you  mentioned  the  last  time? 
McGowan:  The  mother  of  my  children. 

Question:  What  was  her  other  name? 

McGowan:  Cornelia. 

Question:  Were  you  elected  to  Congress? 

McGowan:  What  kind  of  Congress?  (The  U.  S.  Congress.) 

I lost.  Such  a business,  everybody  grabs,  everybody 
steals. . . . Somebody  always  buys  the  votes  and  it’s  such  a 
mess. 

Question:  Are  Mignon  and  Susan  one  and  the  same  person 
or  not? 


McGowan:  I don’t  wish  to  commit  myself.  (I  insist.)  They 
are  not! 

Question;  Let  us  talk  about  Susan.  What  profession  did 
your  father-in-law  follow? 

McGowan:  Big  man. . .in  the  law. 

Question:  What  was  your  mother-in-law’s  first  name? 
McGowan:  Sarah. 

Question:  Did  she  have  another  name? 

McGowan:  Garfey . . . . 

Question:  Coffee?  Spell  it. 

McGowan:  Not  coffee.  Garvey! 

At  a sitting  on  October  28th,  1953,  at  the  home  of 
Mrs.  Meyers,  McGowan’s  alleged  grandson,  Billy,  mani- 
fested himself  as  follows: 

"My  name  is  William,  I passed  in  1949,  at 
Charleston.  I’m  a grandson  of  General  McGowan.  I was 
born  in  Abbeville,  January  2nd,  1894.  Gregory  is  half- 
brother,  son  of  the  French  bitch.  He  (McGowan)  would 
have  married  her,  but  he  had  a boss,  grandfather,  who  held 
the  purse  strings.  Susan’s  father  of  Dutch  blood,  hard- 
headed.” 

Sitting  of  October  29th,  1953 

McGowan:  You  must  find  Gregory.  He  may  be  surprised 
about  his  father,  but  I must  let  him  know  I wanted  for 
him,  and  they  took  for  them. . .all.  And  they  gave  him  noth- 
ing. Nothing!  I had  made  other  plans.  (Was  there  a will?) 
There  was. . .but  I had  a Judge  in  the  family  that  made 
other  plans. . .They  WERE  not  mine!  You  must  tell 
Gregory  I provided. . . . I tell  you  only  the  truth  because  I 
was  an  honest  man. . .1  did  the  best  for  my  family,  for  my 
people,  for  those  I considered  my  countrymen,  that  what 
you  now  call  posterity. . .1  suffer  my  own  sins. ...  For  you 
maybe  it  means  nothing,  for  me,  for  those  who  remember 
me,  pity . . .they  are  now  aware  of  the  truth,  only  now  is 
my  son  unaware  of  the  truth.  Sir,  you  are  my  best  friend. 
And  I go  into  hell  for  you.  I tell  you  always  the  truth,  sir, 
but  there  are  things  that  would  not  concern  you  or  any- 
body. But  I will  give  you  those  names  yet! 

Question:  I ask  again  for  the  name  of  McGowan’s  father- 
in-law. 

McGowan:  Wida. . .Wider. 

THE  “GHOST”  IS  FREED 

One  of  the  functions  of  a “rescue  circle”  is  to  make  sure  a 
disturbed  entity  does  not  return  to  the  scene  of  his  unhap- 
piness. This  mission  was  accomplished  here. 


CHAPTER  FIVE:  Famous  Ghosts 
72 


Sitting  of  November  3rd,  1953 

McGowan : I see  the  house  where  I lived,  you  know,  where 
you  found  me.  I go  there  now,  but  I am  not  anymore  dis- 
turbed. I found  my  mother  and  my  father.  They  could  not 
touch  me,  but  now,  we  touch  hands.  I live  over  my  life, 
come  back  to  many  things.  Herman!  He  was  a good  soul, 
he  helped  me  when  I was  down  in  Atlanta.  He  bathed  my 
feet,  my  legs  were  scorched,  and  he  was  good  to  me,  and  he 
is  over  here.  I thank  him.  1 thanked  him  then,  but  I was 
the  big  man,  and  he  was  nothing,  but  now  I see  he  is  a fine 
gentleman,  he  polished  my  boots,  he  put  my  uniform  in 
order. 

Sitting  of  November  6th,  1953 

I was  alone  with  the  medium,  Mrs.  Meyers,  at  her  home, 
when  I had  a chance  to  question  McGowan  about  his 
apparent  murder,  and  the  “conspiracy  of  silence"  concern- 
ing it. 

McGowan:  The  Judge  protected  them,  did  not  report  my 
death.  They  had  devised  the  kidnapping.  I was  murdered 
downstairs,  strangled  by  the  kidnapper  Walter.  He  took 
her  (Mignon)  all  the  way  to  Boston.  ! wore  the  uniform  of 
Damyankees  (during  the  war),  rode  a horse  every  night  to 
Boston. . .no,  I made  a mistake.  I came  to  my  Uncle  Peter 
Paul  in  New  York,  I had  a letter  from  Marie  Guychone, 
she  was  in  New  York.  Begged  me  to  find  Mignon  and  Gre- 
gory. I come  to  New  York.  I can’t  find  her,  she  was  in 
Boston  then,  but  I didn’t  know  that  until  later.  Marie  Guy- 
chone remained  with  my  uncle,  and  I gave  up  the  chase, 
and  like  a thief  crawled  back  to  Confederate  grounds.  That 
was  in  1863.  After  the  war,  there  was  a struggle,  property 
was  worthless,  finally  the  Union  granted  that  we  withdraw 
our  holdings,  and  with  that  I came  to  New  York.  My 
mother  and  father  came  also,  until  rehabilitation  was  suffi- 
cient for  their  return. 

I continued  to  live  with  my  wife,  Susan,  and  the  chil- 
dren, and  I found  Mignon.  She  had  escaped,  and  came  to 
her  mother  in  New  York.  I made  a place  for  them  to  live 
with  my  uncle  and  when  my  wife  returned  to  stay  with  her 
father  (the  Judge),  I had  Mignon,  but  she  was  pregnant 
and  she  didn’t  know  it,  and  there  was  a black  child — there 
was  unpleasantness  between  us,  I didn’t  know  if  it  were 
mine  and  Mignon  was  black,  but  it  was  not  so,  it  was  his 
child  (Walter’s),  and  he  came  for  it  and  for  her,  he  traced 
her  to  my  house  (on  Fifth  Avenue);  my  father-in-law  (the 
Judge)  was  the  informer,  and  he  (Walter)  strangled  me,  he 
was  a big  man. 

And  when  I was  not  dead  yet,  he  dragged  me  up  the 
stairs.  Mignon  was  not  present,  not  guilty.  I think. . .it  was 
in  January  1874.  But  I may  be  mistaken  about  time.  Gre- 
gory had  two  sons,  William  and  Edward.  William  died  on 
a boat  in  the  English  Channel  in  1918.  Gregory  used  the 


name  Fogarty,  not  McGowan.  The  little  black  boy  died, 
they  say.  It  was  just  as  well  for  him. 

McGowan  then  left  peacefully,  promising  more  infor- 
mation about  the  time  lag  between  his  given  date  and  that 
officially  recorded.  I told  him  the  difference  was  "about 
twenty  years.”  For  the  first  time,  McGowan  had  stated  his 
story  reasonably,  although  some  details  of  it  would  be  hard 
to  check.  No  murder  or  suicide  was  reported  in  the  news- 
papers of  the  period,  similar  to  this  case.  But  of  course 
anyone  planning  a crime  like  this  might  have  succeeded  in 
keeping  it  out  of  the  public  eye.  We  decided  to  continue 
our  sittings. 

Sitting  of  November  10th,  1953 

McGowan  talked  about  the  duel  he  fought,  which  cost  him 
his  hair,  due  to  a wound  on  the  left  side,  back  and  top  of 
his  head.  It  was  over  a woman  and  against  a certain 
Colonel  C.,  something  like  "Collins,”  but  a longer  name. 
He  said  that  Perry  or  Perrin  did  so  make  a stand,  as  if 
someone  had  doubted  it! 

MORE  PROOF  TURNS  UP! 

Leading  away  from  personal  subjects,  the  questioning  now 
proceeded  toward  matters  of  general  interest  about  New 
York  at  the  time  of  McGowan’s  residence  here.  The 
advantage  of  this  line  of  questioning  is  its  neutral  value  for 
research  purposes;  and  as  no  research  was  undertaken  until 
after  the  sittings  of  November  17th,  mental  telepathy  must 
be  excluded  as  an  alternate  explanation! 

Sitting  of  November  17th,  1953 

McGowan:  You  don’t  have  a beard.  They  called  them 
milksops  in  my  days,  the  beardless  boys! 

Question:  What  did  they  call  a man  who  was  a nice  dresser 
and  liked  ladies? 

McGowan:  A Beau  Brummel. 

Question:  What  did  they  call  a gentleman  who  dressed  too 
well,  too  fancifully? 

McGowan:  A fop. 

Question:  What  was  your  favorite  sport? 

McGowan:  Billiards  (He  explains  he  was  good  at  it,  and  the 
balls  were  made  of  cloth.) 

Question:  What  was  the  favorite  game  of  your  day? 
McGowan:  They  played  a Cricket  kind  of  game.. . . 

Question  : Who  was  mayor  of  New  York? 

McGowan:  Oh. . .Grace.  Grace.  ..Edmond. . .Grace. . . 
something  like  it. 


The  Fifth  Avenue  Ghost 


73 


William  R.  Grace  was  mayor  of  New  York, 
1881-1882,  and  Franklin  Edson  (not  Edmond)  followed, 
1883-1884.  Also,  plastic  billiard  balls  as  we  know  them 
today  are  a comparatively  recent  invention,  and  billiard 
balls  in  the  Victorian  era  were  indeed  made  of  cloth.  The 
cricket  kind  of  game  must  be  baseball.  Beau  Brummel,  fop, 
milksop  are  all  authentic  Victorian  expressions. 

Sitting  of  November  26th,  1953 

I asked  the  General  about  trains  in  New  York  in  his  time. 

McGowan:  They  were  smoke  stacks,  up  in  the  air,  smoke 
got  in  your  eyes,  they  went  down  to  the  Globe  Building 
near  City  Hall.  The  Globe  building  was  near  Broadway 
and  Nassau.  The  train  went  up  to  Harlem.  It  was  a nice 
neighborhood.  I took  many  strolls  in  the  park. 

Question:  Where  was  the  Hotel  Waldorf-Astoria? 
McGowan:  Near  Fifth  Avenue  and  33rd,  near  my 
house. . .and  the  Hotel  Prince  George.  Restaurants  were  Ye 
Olde  Southern,  Hotel  Brevoort.  You  crack  my  brain,  you 
are  worse  than  that  boss  in  the  Big  House,  Mr.  Tammany 
and  Mr.  Tweed.  (I  discussed  his  house,  and  he  mentioned 
doing  business  with — ) Somebody  named  Costi. . .1  paid 
$128.50  a month  for  the  entire  house.  A suit  of  clothes  cost 
$100.00. 

Question:  Who  lived  next  door  to  you? 

McGowan:  Herman. . .was  a carriage  smith.  He  had  a busi- 
ness where  he  made  carriages.  He  lived  next  door,  but  his 
business  was  not  there,  the  shop  was  on  Third  Avenue, 
Third  Street,  near  the  river. 

Question:  Any  other  neighbors? 

McGowan:  Corrigan  Brown,  a lawyer. . .lived  three  houses 
down.  The  editor  of  the  Globe  was  White. . . Stone  . . . 

White  . . . the  editor  of  the  Globe  was  not  good  friends  with 
the  man  in  the  Big  House.  They  broke  his  house  down 
when  he  lived  on  Fifth  Avenue.  He  was  a neighbor.  Her- 
man the  carriage  maker  made  good  carriages.  I bought  one 
with  fringes  and  two  seats,  a cabrio. . . . 

Question:  Did  you  have  a janitor? 

McGowan:  There  was  a black  boy  named  Ted,  mainly  col- 
ored servants,  we  had  a gardener,  white,  named  Patrick. 

He  collects  the  rent,  he  lives  with  the  Old  Crow  on  Cherry 
Street.  Herman  lives  next  door.  He  had  a long  mustache 
and  square  beard.  He  wore  a frock  coat,  a diamond  tie  pin, 
and  spectacles.  I never  called  him  Herman. . .(trying  to 
remember  his  true  name). . .Gray. . .1  never  called  him 
Herman.  He  had  a wife  named  Birdie.  His  wife  had  a sister 
named  Finny  who  lived  there  too. . .Mrs.  Finny. . .she  was  a 
young  widow  with  two  children. . .she  was  a good  friend  to 
my  Susan. 


CHAPTER  FIVE:  Famous  Ghosts 
74 


McGowan  then  reluctantly  signs  his  name  as 
requested. 

* * * 

Research,  undertaken  after  the  sitting,  again  excluded 
mental  telepathy.  The  facts  were  of  a kind  not  likely  to  be 
found  in  the  records,  unless  one  were  specifically  looking 
for  them! 

The  New  York  Globe  building,  which  McGowan 
remembers  "near  Broadway  and  Nassau,”  was  then  (1873) 
at  7 Square  Street  and  apparently  also  at  162  Nassau 
Street.  The  Globe  is  on  Spruce,  and  Globe  and  Evening 
Press  on  Nassau,  around  the  corner. 

McGowan  describes  the  steam-powered  elevated  rail- 
road that  went  from  City  Hall  to  Harlem.  Steam  cars 
started  in  1867  and  ran  until  1906,  according  to  the  New 
York  Historical  Society,  and  there  were  two  lines  fitting  his 
description,  "Harlem,  From  Park  Row  to. . .E.  86th  Street” 
and  "Third  Avenue,  from  Ann  Street  through  Park  Row 
to. . .Harlem  Bridge.”1  McGowan  was  right  in  describing 
Harlem  as  a nice  neighborhood  in  his  day. 

McGowan  also  acknowledged  at  once  that  he  had 
been  to  the  Waldorf-Astoria,  and  correctly  identified  its 
position  at  Fifth  Avenue  and  33rd  Street.  The  Waldorf- 
Astoria  came  into  being  on  March  14th,  1893.  Conse- 
quently, McGowan  was  alive  then,  and  evidently  sane,  if  he 
could  visit  such  places  as  the  Waldorf,  Brevoort,  and 
others. 

McGowan  refers  to  a (later)  landlord  as  Costi.  In 
1895,  a real-estate  firm  by  the  name  of  George  and  John 
Coster  was  situated  at  173  Fifth  Avenue,  a few  houses 
down  the  street  from  McGowan’s  place.* 

As  for  the  carriage  smith  named  Herman,  a little  later 
referred  to  as  Herman  Gray,  there  was  a carriage  maker 
named  William  H.  Gray  from  1872  or  earlier,  and  existing 
beyond  the  turn  of  the  century,  whose  shop  was  at  first  at 
20  Wooster  Street,  and  who  lived  at  258  West  Fourth 
Street,  until  at  least  1882.  In  1895  he  is  listed  as  living  at 
275  West  94th  Street.  Not  all  Troy  volumes  in  between  are 
available,  so  that  residence  in  McGowan’s  neighborhood 
can  neither  be  confirmed  nor  denied.  At  one  time,  Gray’s 
shops  were  on  West  Broadway.  As  for  Corrigan  Brown, 
the  lawyer  neighbor,  McGowan’s  mispronouncing  of  names 
almost  tripped  me  up.  There  was  no  such  lawyer.  There 
was,  however,  one  Edmond  Congar  Brown,  lawyer,  listed 
for  the  first  time  as  such  in  1886,  and  before  that  only  as  a 
clerk.  No  home  is,  unfortunately,  listed  for  his  later 
years. ,f  McGowan  stated  that  the  editor  of  the  Globe  was 


$ 

Trow’s  New  York  City  Directory  for  1872/73,  p.  448  regular  sec- 
tion and  p.  38  City  Register  section. 

Ibid,  City  Register,  p.  18,  under  “City  Railroads.” 

*Trow,  1895/96,  p.  550. 

+ Trow,  1872/73,  City  Register,  p.  27. 

Trow,  1895/96,  p.  174,  lists  his  office  as  132  Nassau. 


named  White -and -something,  and  that  he  lived  near  his 
(McGowan’s)  house  on  Fifth  Avenue. 

Well,  one  Horace  P.  Whitney,  editor,  business,  128 
Fulton  Street,  home,  287  Fifth  Avenue,  is  listed  in  Trow. 
And  128  Fulton  Street  is  the  place  of  the  Globe’s  competi- 
tor, the  New  York  Mercury,  published  by  Cauldwell  and 
Whitney. 

*1872,  p.  1287,  regular  section. 

Trow i i872i  City  Register  section,  p.  39. 


* * * 

That  McGowan  did  not  die  in  1873  seems  certain  to 
me,  as  the  above  information  proves.  But  if  he  did  not  die 
in  1873,  something  very  traumatic  must  have  been  done  to 
him  at  that  time.  Or  perhaps  the  murder,  if  such  it  was, 
took  place  in  1897? 

It  could  well  be  that  General  McGowan  will  take  this 
ultimate  secret  with  him  into  the  Great  Land  where  he  now 
dwells  safely  forever. 


* 5 

The  Case  of  the  Murdered  Financier 

I REMEMBER  THE  NIGHT  we  went  to  visit  the  house  where 
financier  Serge  Rubinstein  was  killed.  It  was  a year  after  his 
death  but  only  I,  among  the  group,  had  knowledge  of  the 
exact  date  of  the  anniversary.  John  Latouche,  my  much- 
too-soon  departed  friend,  and  I picked  up  Mrs.  Meyers  at 
her  Westside  home  and  rode  in  a taxi  to  Fifth  Avenue  and 
60th  Street.  As  a precaution,  so  as  not  to  give  away  the 
address  which  we  were  headed  for,  we  left  the  taxi  two 
blocks  south  of  the  Rubinstein  residence. 

Our  minds  were  careful  blanks,  and  the  conversation 
was  about  music.  But  we  didn’t  fool  our  medium.  “What’s 
the  pianist  doing  here?”  she  demanded  to  know.  What 
pianist,  I countered.  “Rubinstein,”  said  she.  For  to  our 
medium,  a professional  singing  teacher,  that  name  could 
only  stand  for  the  great  pianist.  It  showed  that  our  medium 
was,  so  to  speak,  on-the-beam,  and  already  entering  into 
the  “vibration,”  or  electrically  charged  atmosphere  of  the 
haunting. 

Latouche  and  I looked  at  each  other  in  amazement. 
Mrs.  Meyers  was  puzzled  by  our  sudden  excitement. 
Without  further  delay,  we  rang  the  bell  at  the  stone  man- 
sion, hoping  the  door  would  open  quickly  so  that  we  would 
not  be  exposed  to  curiosity -seekers  who  were  then  still 
hanging  around  the  house  where  one  of  the  most  publi- 
cized murders  had  taken  place  just  a year  before,  to  the 
hour. 

It  was  now  near  midnight,  and  my  intention  had 
been  to  try  and  make  contact  with  the  spirit  of  the 
departed.  I assumed,  from  the  manner  in  which  he  died, 
that  Serge  Rubinstein  might  still  be  around  his  house,  and 
I had  gotten  his  mother’s  permission  to  attempt  the 
contact. 

The  seconds  on  the  doorstep  seemed  like  hours,  as 
Mrs.  Meyers  questioned  me  about  the  nature  of  tonight’s 
“case.”  I asked  her  to  be  patient,  but  when  the  butler  came 
and  finally  opened  the  heavy  gate,  Mrs.  Meyers  suddenly 
realized  where  we  were.  "It  isn’t  the  pianist,  then!”  she 
mumbled,  somewhat  dazed.  "It’s  the  other  Rubinstein!” 


With  these  words  we  entered  the  forbidding-looking 
building  for  an  evening  of  horror  and  ominous  tension. 

The  murder  is  still  officially  unsolved,  and  as  much 
an  enigma  to  the  world  as  it  was  on  that  cold  winter  night, 
in  1955,  when  the  newspaper  headlines  screamed  of  “bad 
boy”  financier  Serge  Rubinstein’s  untimely  demise.  That 
night,  after  business  conferences  and  a night  on  the  town 
with  a brunette,  Rubinstein  had  some  unexpected  visitors. 
Even  the  District  Attorney  couldn’t  name  them  for  sure, 
but  there  were  suspects  galore,  and  the  investigation  never 
ran  out  of  possibilities. 

Evidently  Serge  had  a falling-out  with  the  brunette, 
Estelle  Gardner,  and  decided  the  evening  was  still  young, 
so  he  felt  like  continuing  it  with  a change  of  cast.  Another 
woman,  Pat  Wray,  later  testified  that  Rubinstein  tele- 
phoned her  to  join  him  after  he  had  gotten  rid  of  Estelle, 
and  that  she  refused. 

The  following  morning,  the  butler,  William  Morter, 
found  Rubinstein  dead  in  his  third-floor  bedroom.  He  was 
wearing  pajamas,  and  evidently  the  victim  of  some  form  of 
torture — for  his  arms  and  feet  were  tied,  and  his  mouth 
and  throat  thickly  covered  by  adhesive  tape.  The  medical 
examiner  dryly  ruled  death  by  strangulation. 

The  police  found  themselves  with  a first-rate  puzzle 
on  their  hands.  Lots  of  people  wanted  to  kill  Rubinstein, 
lots  of  people  had  said  so  publicly  without  meaning  it — but 
who  actually  did?  The  financier’s  reputation  was  not  the 
best,  although  it  must  be  said  that  he  did  no  more  nor  less 
than  many  others;  but  his  manipulations  were  neither  ele- 
gant nor  quiet,  and  consequently,  the  glaring  light  of  pub- 
licity and  exposure  created  a public  image  of  a monster 
that  did  not  really  fit  the  Napoleonic-looking  young  man 
from  Paris. 

Rubinstein  was  a possessive  and  jealous  man.  A tiny 
microphone  was  placed  by  him  in  the  apartment  of  Pat 
Wray,  sending  sound  into  a tape  recorder  hidden  in  a car 
parked  outside  the  building.  Thus,  Rubinstein  was  able  to 
monitor  her  every  word! 

Obviously,  his  dealings  were  worldwide,  and  there 
were  some  2,000  names  in  his  private  files. 

The  Case  of  the  Murdered  Financier 


75 


The  usual  sensational  news  accounts  had  been  seen  in 
the  press  the  week  prior  to  our  seance,  but  none  of  them 
contained  anything  new  or  definite.  Mrs.  Meyers’  knowl- 
edge of  the  case  was  as  specific  as  that  of  any  ordinary 
newspaper  reader. 

* * * 

We  were  received  by  Serge’s  seventy-nine-year-old 
mother,  Stella  Rubinstein;  her  sister,  Eugenia  Forrester;  the 
Rubinstein  attorney,  Ennis;  a female  secretary;  a guard 
named  Walter,  and  a newspaper  reporter  from  a White 
Russian  paper,  Jack  Zwieback.  After  a few  moments  of 
polite  talk  downstairs — that  is,  on  the  second  floor  where 
the  library  of  the  sumptuous  mansion  was  located — I sug- 
gested we  go  to  the  location  of  the  crime  itself. 

We  all  rose,  when  Mrs.  Meyers  suddenly  stopped  in 
her  tracks.  “I  feel  someone’s  grip  on  my  arm,”  she 
commented. 

We  went  upstairs  without  further  incident. 

The  bedroom  of  the  slain  financier  was  a medium- 
size  room  in  the  rear  of  the  house,  connected  with  the  front 
sitting  room  through  a large  bathroom.  We  formed  a circle 
around  the  bed,  occupying  the  center  of  the  room.  The 
light  was  subdued,  but  the  room  was  far  from  dark.  Mrs. 
Meyers  insisted  on  sitting  in  a chair  close  to  the  bed,  and 
remarked  that  she  “was  directed  there.” 

Gradually  her  body  relaxed,  her  eyes  closed,  and  the 
heavy,  rhythmic  breathing  of  onsetting  trance  was  heard  in 
the  silence  of  the  room,  heavily  tensed  with  fear  and  appre- 
hension of  what  was  to  come. 

Several  times,  the  medium  placed  her  arm  before  her 
face,  as  if  warding  off  attacks;  symptoms  of  choking  dis- 
torted her  face  and  a struggle  seemed  to  take  place  before 
our  eyes! 

Within  a few  minutes,  this  was  over,  and  a new, 
strange  voice  came  from  the  lips  of  the  medium.  ‘‘I  can 
speak. . .over  there,  they’re  coming!”  The  arm  pointed 
toward  the  bathroom. 

I asked  who  “they”  were. 

"They’re  no  friends. . .Joe,  Stan. . .cheap  girl. . .in 
the  door,  they — ” The  hand  went  to  the  throat,  indicating 
choking. 

Then,  suddenly,  the  person  in  command  of  the 
medium  added:  “The  woman  should  be  left  out.  There  was 
a calendar  with  serial  numbers. . .box  numbers,  but  they 
can’t  get  it!  Freddie  was  here,  too!” 

“What  was  in  the  box?” 

“Fourteen  letters.  Nothing  for  the  public.” 

"Give  me  more  information.” 

“Baby-Face. . .1  don’t  want  to  talk  too 
much... they'll  pin  it  on  Joe.” 

"Flow  many  were  there?” 


CHAPTER  FIVE:  Famous  Ghosts 
76 


“Joe,  Stan,  and  Freddie... stooges.  Her  bosses’ 
stooges!  London. . .let  me  go,  let  me  go. . I’m  too  frantic 
here... not  up  here... I’ll  come  again.” 

With  a jolt,  the  medium  awoke  from  her  trance.  Per- 
spiration stood  on  her  forehead,  although  the  room  was 
cold.  Not  a word  was  said  by  the  people  in  the  room.  Mrs. 
Meyers  leaned  back  and  thought  for  a moment. 

“I  feel  a small,  stocky  man  here,  perverted  minds, 
and  there  is  fighting  all  over  the  room.  He  is  being  sur- 
prised by  the  bathroom  door.  They  were  hiding  in  the  next 
room,  came  through  this  window  and  fire  escape.” 

We  descended  again  to  the  library,  where  we  had 
originally  assembled.  The  conversation  continued  quietly, 
when  suddenly  Mrs.  Meyers  found  herself  rapidly  slipping 
into  trance  again. 

“Three  men,  one  wiry  and  tall,  one  short  and  very 
stocky,  and  one  tall  and  stout — the  shorter  one  is  in 
charge.  Then  there  is  Baby-Face. . .she  has  a Mona  Lisa- 
like  face.  Stan  is  protected.  I had  the  goods  on  them. . . . 
Mama’s  right,  it’s  getting  hot. ...” 

"Give  us  the  name!”  I almost  shouted.  Tension 
gripped  us  all. 

The  medium  struggled  with  an  unfamiliar  sound. 
“Kapoich. . .?”  Then  she  added,  “The  girl  here. . .poker 
face.” 

“But  what  is  her  name?” 

“Ha  ha... tyrant.” 

When  Mrs.  Meyers  came  out  of  her  trance,  I ques- 
tioned Rubinstein’s  mother  about  the  seance.  She  readily 
agreed  that  the  voice  had  indeed  sounded  much  like  her 
late  son’s.  Moreover,  there  was  that  girl — named  in  the 
investigation — who  had  a “baby  face.”  She  never  showed 
emotion,  and  was,  in  fact,  poker-faced  all  the  time.  Her 
name? 

"My  son  often  called  her  his  tyrant,”  the  mother 
said,  visibly  shaken. 

"What  about  the  other  names?” 

"My  son  used  a hired  limousine  frequently.  The 
chauffeur  was  a stocky  man,  and  his  name  was  Joe  or  Joey. 
Stan?  I have  heard  that  name  many  times  in  business  con- 
versations. One  of  the  men  involved  in  the  investigation 
was  named  Kubitschek.  Had  the  deceased  tried  to  pro- 
nounce that  name? 

A wallet  once  belonging  to  Serge  had  been  handed  to 
Mrs.  Meyers  a few  minutes  before,  to  help  her  maintain 
contact  with  the  deceased.  Suddenly,  without  warning,  the 
wallet  literally  flew  out  of  her  hands  arid  hit  the  high  ceiling 
of  the  library  with  tremendous  impact. 

Mrs.  Meyers’  voice  again  sounded  strange,  as  the  late 
financier  spoke  through  her  in  anger.  "Do  you  know  how 
much  it  costs  to  sell  a man  down  the  river?” 

Nobody  cared  to  answer.  We  had  all  had  quite  enough 
for  one  evening! 

We  all  left  in  different  directions,  and  I sent  a dupli- 
cate of  the  seance  transcript  to  the  police,  something  I have 
done  with  every  subsequent  seance  as  well.  Mrs.  Meyers 


L 


and  I were  never  the  only  ones  to  know  what  transpired  in 
trance.  The  police  knew,  too,  and  if  they  did  not  choose  to 
arrest  anyone,  that  was  their  business. 

We  were  sure  our  seance  had  not  attracted  attention, 
and  Mrs.  Rubinstein  herself,  and  her  people,  certainly 
would  not  spread  the  word  of  the  unusual  goings-on  in  the 
Fifth  Avenue  mansion  on  the  anniversary  of  the  murder. 

But  on  February  1 , Cholly  Knickerbocker  headlined 
—"Serge’s  Mother  Holds  A Seance”! 

Not  entirely  accurate  in  his  details — his  source  turned 
out  to  be  one  of  the  guards — Mr.  Cassini,  nevertheless, 
came  to  the  point  in  stating:  “To  the  awe  of  all  present,  no 
less  than  four  people  were  named  by  the  medium.  If  this 
doesn’t  give  the  killers  the  chills,  it  certainly  does  us.” 

We  thought  we  had  done  our  bit  toward  the  solution 
of  this  baffling  murder,  and  were  quite  prepared  to  forget 
the  excitement  of  that  evening.  Unfortunately,  the  wraith 
of  Rubinstein  did  not  let  it  rest  at  that. 

During  a routine  seance  then  held  at  my  house  on 
West  70th  Street,  he  took  over  the  medium’s  personality, 
and  elaborated  on  his  statements.  He  talked  of  his  offices 
in  London  and  Paris,  his  staff,  and  his  enemies.  One  of  his 
lawyers,  Rubinstein  averred,  knew  more  than  he  dared 
disclose! 

I called  Mrs.  Rubinstein  and  arranged  for  another, 
less  public  sitting  at  the  Fifth  Avenue  house.  This  time 
only  the  four  of  us,  the  two  elderly  ladies,  Mrs.  Meyers 
and  I,  were  present.  Rubinstein’s  voice  was  again  recog- 
nized by  his  mother. 

“It  was  at  2:45  on  the  nose.  2:45!”  he  said,  speaking 
of  the  time  of  his  death.  “Pa  took  my  hand,  it  wasn't  so 
bad.  I want  to  tell  the  little  angel  woman  here,  I don’t 
always  listen  like  a son  should — she  told  me  always,  ‘You 
go  too  far,  don’t  take  chances!”' 

Then  his  voice  grew  shrill  with  anger.  “Justice  will  be 
done.  I have  paid  for  that.” 

I asked,  what  did  this  fellow  Joey,  whom  he  men- 
tioned the  first  time,  do  for  a living? 

“Limousines.  He  knew  how  to  come.  He  brought 
them  here,  they  were  not  invited.” 

He  then  added  something  about  Houston,  Texas,  and 
insisted  that  a man  from  that  city  was  involved.  He  was 
sure  “the  girl”  would  eventually  talk  and  break  the  case. 

There  were  a number  of  other  sittings,  at  my  house, 
where  the  late  Serge  put  his  appearance  into  evidence. 
Gradually,  his  hatred  and  thirst  for  revenge  gave  way  to  a 
calmer  acceptance  of  his  untimely  death.  He  kept  us 
informed  of  “poker  face’s  moves” — whenever  “the  girl” 
moved,  Serge  was  there  to  tell  us.  Sometimes  his  language 
was  rough,  sometimes  he  held  back. 

“They’ll  get  Mona  Lisa,”  he  assured  me  on  March 
30th,  1956.  I faithfully  turned  the  records  of  our  seances 
over  to  the  police.  They  always  acknowledged  them,  but 
were  not  eager  to  talk  about  this  help  from  so  odd  a source 
as  a psychical  researcher! 


Rubinstein  kept  talking  about  a Crown  Street  Head- 
quarters in  London,  but  we  never  were  able  to  locate  this 
address.  At  one  time,  he  practically  insisted  in  taking  his 
medium  with  him  into  the  street,  to  look  for  his  murderers! 
It  took  strength  and  persuasion  for  me  to  calm  the  restless 
one,  for  I did  not  want  Mrs.  Meyers  to  leave  the  safety  of 
the  big  armchair  by  the  fireplace,  which  she  usually  occu- 
pied at  our  seances. 

“Stan  is  on  this  side  now,”  he  commented  on  April 

13th. 

I could  never  fathom  whether  Stan  was  his  friend  of 
his  enemy,  or  perhaps  both  at  various  times.  Financier 
Stanley  died  a short  time  after  our  initial  seance  at  the 
Fifth  Avenue  mansion. 

Safe  deposit  boxes  were  mentioned,  and  numbers 
given,  but  somehow  Mrs.  Rubinstein  never  managed  to 
find  them. 

On  April  26th,  we  held  another  sitting  at  my  house. 
This  time  the  spirit  of  the  slain  financier  was  particularly 
restless. 

“Vorovsky,”  he  mumbled,  “yellow  cab,  he  was  paid 
good  for  helping  her  get  away  from  the  house.  Doug  paid 
him,  he’s  a friend  of  Charley's.  Tell  mother  to  hire  a private 
detective.” 

I tried  to  calm  him.  He  flared  up  at  me.  “Who’re  you 
talking  to?  The  Pope?” 

The  next  day,  I checked  these  names  with  his 
mother.  Mrs.  Rubinstein  also  assured  me  that  the  expres- 
sion “who  do  you  think  I am — the  Pope?”  was  one  of  his 
favorite  phrases  in  life! 

“Take  your  nose  down  to  Texas  and  you’ll  find  a 
long  line  to  London  and  Paris,”  he  advised  us  on  May 
10th. 

Meanwhile,  Mrs.  Rubinstein  increased  the  reward  for 
the  capture  of  the  murderer  to  $50,000.  Still,  no  one  was 
arrested,  and  the  people  the  police  had  originally  ques- 
tioned had  all  been  let  go.  Strangely  enough,  the  estate  was 
much  smaller  than  at  first  anticipated.  Was  much  money 
still  in  hiding,  perhaps  in  some  unnamed  safe  deposit  box? 
We’ll  never  know.  Rubinstein’s  mother  has  gone  on  to  join 
him  on  the  other  side  of  the  veil,  too. 

My  last  contact  with  the  case  was  in  November  of 
1961 , when  columnist  Hy  Gardner  asked  me  to  appear  on 
his  television  program.  We  talked  about  the  Rubinstein 
seances,  and  he  showed  once  more  the  eerie  bit  of  film  he 
called  “a  collector’s  item” — the  only  existing  television 
interview  with  Rubinstein,  made  shortly  before  his  death  in 
1955. 

The  inquisitive  reporter’s  questions  are  finally  parried 
by  the  wily  Rubinstein  with  an  impatient — ’’Why,  that’s 
like  asking  a man  about  his  own  death!” 

Could  it  be  that  Serge  Rubinstein,  in  addition  to  all  his 
other  “talents,”  also  had  the  gift  of  prophecy? 


The  Case  of  the  Murdered  Financier 


77 


# 6 


The  Rockland  County  Ghost* 

In  November  1951  the  writer  heard  for  the  first  time  of 
the  haunted  house  belonging  to  the  New  York  home  of  the 
late  Danton  Walker,  the  well-known  newspaper  man. 

Over  a dinner  table  in  a Manhattan  restaurant,  the 
strange  goings-on  in  the  Rockland  County  house  were  dis- 
cussed with  me  for  the  first  time,  although  they  had  been 
observed  over  the  ten  years  preceding  our  meeting.  The 
manifestations  had  come  to  a point  where  they  had  forced 
Mr.  Walker  to  leave  his  house  to  the  ghost  and  build  him- 
self a studio  on  the  other  end  of  his  estate,  where  he  was 
able  to  live  unmolested. 

A meeting  with  Mrs.  Garrett,  the  medium,  was  soon 
arranged,  but  due  to  her  indisposition,  it  had  to  be  post- 
poned. Despite  her  illness,  Mrs.  Garrett,  in  a kind  of 
"traveling  clairvoyance,”  did  obtain  a clairvoyant  impres- 
sion of  the  entity.  His  name  was  “Andreas,”  and  she  felt 
him  to  be  rather  attached  to  the  present  owner  of  the 
house.  These  findings  Mrs.  Garrett  communicated  to  Mr. 
Walker,  but  nothing  further  was  done  on  the  case  until  the 
fall  of  1952.  A "rescue  circle”  operation  was  finally  orga- 
nized on  November  22,  1952,  and  successfully  concluded 
the  case,  putting  the  disturbed  soul  to  rest  and  allowing 
Mr.  Walker  to  return  to  the  main  house  without  further 
fear  of  manifestations. 

Before  noting  the  strange  phenomena  that  have  been 
observed  in  the  house,  it  will  be  necessary  to  describe  this 
house  a bit,  as  the  nature  of  the  building  itself  has  a great 
deal  to  do  with  the  occurrences. 

Mr.  Walker’s  house  is  a fine  example  of  colonial 
architecture,  of  the  kind  that  was  built  in  the  country  dur- 
ing the  second  half  of  the  eighteenth  century.  Although 
Walker  was  sure  only  of  the  first  deed  to  the  property, 
dated  1813  and  naming  the  Abrams  family,  of  pre-Revolu- 
tionary  origin  in  the  country,  the  house  itself  is  unques- 
tionably much  older. 

When  Mr.  Walker  bought  the  house  in  the  spring  of 
1942,  it  was  in  the  dismal  state  of  disrepair  typical  of  some 
dwellings  in  the  surrounding  Ramapo  Mountains.  It  took 
the  new  owner  several  years  and  a great  deal  of  money  to 
rebuild  the  house  to  its  former  state  and  to  refurbish  it 
with  the  furniture,  pewter,  and  other  implements  of  the 
period.  I am  mentioning  this  point  because  in  its  present 
state  the  house  is  a completely  livable  and  authentic  colo- 
nial building  of  the  kind  that  would  be  an  entirely  familiar 
and  a welcome  sight  to  a man  living  toward  the  end  of  the 
eighteenth  century,  were  he  to  set  foot  into  it  today. 

The  house  stands  on  a hill  which  was  once  part  of  a 
farm.  During  the  War  for  Independence,  this  location  was 

*Courtesy  of  Tomorrow,  Vol.  I,  No.  3. 

CHAPTER  FIVE:  Famous  Ghosts 
78 


the  headquarters  of  a colonial  army.  In  fact,  "Mad” 
Anthony  Wayne’s  own  headquarters  stood  near  this  site, 
and  the  Battle  of  Stony  Point  (1779)  was  fought  a few 
miles  away.  Most  likely,  the  building  restored  by  Mr. 
Walker  was  then  in  use  as  a fortified  roadhouse,  used  both 
for  storage  of  arms,  ammunitions,  and  food  supplies,  and 
for  the  temporary  lodging  of  prisoners. 

After  the  house  passed  from  the  hands  of  the  Abrams 
family  in  the  earlier  part  of  the  last  century,  a banker 
named  Dixon  restored  the  farm  and  the  hill,  but  paid  scant 
attention  to  the  house  itself.  By  and  by,  the  house  gave  in 
to  the  ravages  of  time  and  weather.  A succession  of  moun- 
tain people  made  it  their  living  quarters  around  the  turn  of 
the  century,  but  did  nothing  to  improve  its  sad  state  of  dis- 
repair. When  Mr.  Walker  took  over,  only  the  kitchen  and 
a small  adjoining  room  were  in  use;  the  rest  of  the  house 
was  filled  with  discarded  furniture  and  other  objects.  The 
upstairs  was  divided  into  three  tiny  rooms  and  a small 
attic,  which  contained  bonnets,  hoop  skirts,  and  crudely 
carved  wooden  shoe  molds  and  toys,  dating  from  about  the 
Civil  War  period. 

While  the  house  was  being  reconstructed,  Mr. 

Walker  was  obliged  to  spend  nights  at  a nearby  inn,  but 
would  frequently  take  naps  during  the  day  on  an  army  cot 
upstairs.  On  these  occasions  he  received  distinct  impres- 
sions of  "a  Revolutionary  soldier”  being  in  the  room. 

Mr.  Walker’s  moving  in,  in  the  spring  of  1942, 
touched  off  the  usual  country  gossip,  some  of  which  later 
reached  his  ears.  It  seemed  that  the  house  was  haunted. 
One  woman  who  had  lived  in  the  place  told  of  an  “old 
man”  who  frightened  the  children,  mysterious  knocks  at 
the  front  door,  and  other  mysterious  happenings.  But  none 
of  these  reports  could  be  followed  up.  For  all  practical  pur- 
poses, we  may  say  that  the  phenomena  started  with  the 
arrival  of  Mr.  Walker. 

Though  Mr.  Walker  was  acutely  sensitive  to  the 
atmosphere  of  the  place  from  the  time  he  took  over,  it  was 
not  until  1944  that  the  manifestations  resulted  in  both  visi- 
ble and  audible  phenomena.  That  year,  during  an  after- 
noon when  he  was  resting  in  the  front  room  downstairs,  he 
was  roused  by  a violent  summons  to  the  front  door,  which 
has  a heavy  iron  knocker.  Irritated  by  the  intrusion  when 
no  guest  was  expected,  he  called  "Come  in!,”  then  went  to 
the  front  door  and  found  no  one  there. 

About  this  time,  Mr.  Walker’s  butler,  Johnny, 
remarked  to  his  employer  that  the  house  was  a nice  place 
to  stay  in  “if  they  would  let  you  alone.”  Questioning 
revealed  that  Johnny,  spending  the  night  in  the  house 
alone,  had  gone  downstairs  three  times  during  the  night  to 
answer  knocks  at  the  front  door.  An  Italian  workman 
named  Pietro,  who  did  some  repairs  on  the  house,  reported 
sounds  of  someone  walking  up  the  stairs  in  midafternoon 
"with  heavy  boots  on,”  at  a time  when  there  definitely  was 
no  one  else  in  the  place.  Two  occasional  guests  of  the 
owner  also  were  disturbed,  while  reading  in  the  living 
room,  by  the  sound  of  heavy  footsteps  overhead. 


In  1950  Mr.  Walker  and  his  secretary  were  eating 
dinner  in  the  kitchen,  which  is  quite  close  to  the  front 
door.  There  was  a sharp  rap  at  the  door.  The  secretary 
opened  it  and  found  nobody  there.  In  the  summer  of  1952, 
when  there  were  guests  downstairs  but  no  one  upstairs, 
sounds  of  heavy  thumping  were  heard  from  upstairs,  as  if 
someone  had  taken  a bad  fall. 

Though  Mr.  Walker,  his  butler,  and  his  guests  never 
saw  or  fancied  they  saw  any  ghostly  figures,  the  manifesta- 
tions did  not  restrict  themselves  to  audible  phenomena. 
Unexplainable  dents  in  pewter  pieces  occurred  from  time 
to  time.  A piece  of  glass  in  a door  pane,  the  same  front 
door  of  the  house,  was  cracked  but  remained  solidly  in 
place  for  some  years.  One  day  it  was  missing  and  could  not 
be  located  in  the  hall  indoors,  nor  outside  on  the  porch.  A 
week  later  this  four -by -four  piece  of  glass  was  accidentally 
found  resting  on  a plate  rail  eight  feet  above  the  kitchen 
floor.  How  it  got  there  is  as  much  of  a mystery  now  as  it 
was  then. 

On  one  occasion,  when  Johnny  was  cleaning  the 
stairs  to  the  bedroom,  a picture  that  had  hung  at  the  top  of 
the  stairs  for  at  least  two  years  tumbled  down,  almost  strik- 
ing him.  A woman  guest  who  had  spent  the  night  on  a 
daybed  in  the  living  room,  while  making  up  the  bed  next 
morning,  was  almost  struck  by  a heavy  pewter  pitcher 
which  fell  (“almost  as  if  thrown  at  her”)  from  a bookshelf 
hanging  behind  the  bed.  There  were  no  unusual  vibrations 
of  the  house  to  account  for  these  things. 

On  the  white  kitchen  wall  there  are  heavy  semicircu- 
lar black  marks  where  a pewter  salt  box,  used  for  holding 
keys,  had  been  violently  swung  back  and  forth.  A large 
pewter  pitcher,  which  came  into  the  house  in  perfect  condi- 
tion, now  bears  five  heavy  imprints,  four  on  one  side,  one 
on  the  other.  A West  Pointer  with  unusually  large  hands 
fitted  his  own  four  fingers  and  thumb  into  the  dents! 

Other  phenomena  included  gripping  chills  felt  from 
time  to  time  by  Mr.  Walker  and  his  more  sensitive  guests. 
These  chills,  not  to  be  confused  with  drafts,  were  also  felt 
in  all  parts  of  the  house  by  Mr.  Walker  when  alone.  They 
took  the  form  of  a sudden  paralyzing  cold,  as  distinct  as  a 
cramp.  Such  a chill  once  seized  him  when  he  had  been  ill 
and  gone  to  bed  early.  Exasperated  by  the  phenomenon,  he 
unthinkingly  called  out  aloud,  "Oh,  for  God’s  sake,  let  me 
alone!”  The  chill  abruptly  stopped. 

But  perhaps  the  most  astounding  incident  took  place 
in  November  1952,  only  a few  days  before  the  rescue  circle 
met  at  the  house. 

Two  of  Mr.  Walker’s  friends,  down-to-earth  men 
with  no  belief  in  the  so-called  supernatural,  were  weekend 
guests.  Though  Walker  suggested  that  they  both  spend  the 
night  in  the  commodious  studio  about  three-hundred  feet 
from  the  main  house,  one  of  them  insisted  on  staying 
upstairs  in  the  “haunted”  room.  Walker  persuaded  him  to 
leave  the  lights  on. 

An  hour  later,  the  pajama-clad  man  came  rushing 
down  to  the  studio,  demanding  that  Mr.  Walker  put  an 


end  “to  his  pranks.”  The  light  beside  his  bed  was  blinking 
on  and  off.  All  other  lights  in  the  house  were  burning 
steadily! 

Assured  that  this  might  be  caused  by  erratic  power 
supply  and  that  no  one  was  playing  practical  jokes,  the 
guest  returned  to  the  main  house.  But  an  hour  or  so  later, 
he  came  back  to  the  studio  and  spent  the  rest  of  the  night 
there.  In  the  morning  he  somewhat  sheepishly  told  that  he 
had  been  awakened  from  a sound  sleep  by  the  sensation  of 
someone  slapping  him  violently  in  the  face.  Sitting  bolt 
upright  in  bed,  he  noticed  that  the  shirt  he  had  hung  on 
the  back  of  a rocking  chair  was  being  agitated  by  the 
“breeze.”  Though  admitting  that  this  much  might  have 
been  pure  imagination,  he  also  seemed  to  notice  the  chair 
gently  rocking.  Since  all  upstairs  windows  were  closed, 
there  definitely  was  no  “breeze.” 

“The  sensation  described  by  my  guest,”  Mr.  Walker 
remarked,  “reminded  me  of  a quotation  from  one  of  Edith 
Wharton’s  ghost  stories.  Here  is  the  exact  quote: 

‘“Medford  sat  up  in  bed  with  a jerk  which  resembles 
no  other.  Someone  was  in  his  room.  The  fact  reached  him 
not  by  sight  or  sound. . .but  by  a peculiar  faint  disturbance 
of  the  invisible  currents  that  enclose  us.’ 

“Many  people  in  real  life  have  experienced  this  sensa- 
tion. I myself  had  not  spent  a night  alone  in  the  main 
house  in  four  years.  It  got  so  that  I just  couldn’t  take  it.  In 
fact,  I built  the  studio  specifically  to  get  away  from  staying 
there.  When  people  have  kidded  me  about  my  ‘haunted 
house,’  my  reply  is,  would  I have  spent  so  much  time  and 
money  restoring  the  house,  and  then  built  another  house  to 
spend  the  night  in,  if  there  had  not  been  some  valid 
reason?” 

On  many  previous  occasions,  Mr.  Walker  had 
remarked  that  he  had  a feeling  that  someone  was  trying 
"desperately”  to  get  into  the  house,  as  if  for  refuge.  The 
children  of  an  earlier  tenant  had  mentioned  some  agitation 
“by  the  lilac  bush”  at  the  corner  of  the  house.  The  original 
crude  walk  from  the  road  to  the  house,  made  of  flat  native 
stones,  passed  this  lilac  bush  and  went  to  the  well,  which, 
according  to  local  legend,  was  used  by  soldiers  in  Revolu- 
tionary times. 

“When  I first  took  over  the  place,”  Mr.  Walker 
observed,  "I  used  to  look  out  of  the  kitchen  window  twenty 
times  a day  to  see  who  was  at  the  well.  Since  the  old  walk 
has  been  replaced  by  a stone  walk  and  driveway,  no  one 
could  now  come  into  the  place  without  being  visible  for  at 
least  sixty-five  feet.  Following  the  reconstruction,  the  stone 
wall  blocking  the  road  was  torn  down  several  times  at  the 
exact  spot  where  the  original  walk  reached  the  road.” 

In  all  the  disturbances  which  led  to  the  efforts  of  the 
rescue  circle,  I detected  one  common  denominator.  Some- 
one was  attempting  to  get  into  the  house,  and  to  call  atten- 
tion to  something.  Playing  pranks,  puzzling  people,  or  even 
frightening  them,  were  not  part  of  the  ghost’s  purpose; 

The  Rockland  County  Ghost 

79 


they  were  merely  his  desperate  devices  for  getting  atten- 
tion, attention  for  something  he  very  much  wanted  to  say. 

On  a bleak  and  foreboding  day  in  November  1952, 
the  little  group  comprising  the  rescue  circle  drove  out  into 
the  country  for  the  sitting.  They  were  accompanied  by  Dr. 
L.,  a prominent  Park  Avenue  psychiatrist  and  psychoana- 
lyst, and  of  course  by  Mr.  Walker,  the  owner  of  the 
property. 

The  investigation  was  sponsored  by  Parapsychology 
Foundation,  Inc.,  of  New  York  City.  Participants  included 
Mrs.  Eileen  J.  Garrett;  Dr.  L.,  whose  work  in  psychiatry 
and  analysis  is  well  known;  Miss  Lenore  Davidson,  assis- 
tant to  Mrs.  Garrett,  who  was  responsible  for  most  of  the 
notes  taken;  Dr.  Michael  Pobers,  then  Secretary  General  of 
the  Parapsychology  Foundation;  and  myself. 

The  trip  to  the  Rockland  County  home  of  Mr. 

Walker  took  a little  over  an  hour.  The  house  stands  atop  a 
wide  hill,  not  within  easy  earshot  of  the  next  inhabited 
house,  but  not  too  far  from  his  own  “cabin”  and  two  other 
small  houses  belonging  to  Mr.  Walker’s  estate.  The  main 
house,  small  and  compact,  represents  a perfect  restoration 
of  colonial  American  architecture. 

A plaque  in  the  ground  at  the  entrance  gate  calls 
attention  to  the  historical  fact  that  General  Wayne’s  head- 
quarters at  the  time  of  the  Battle  of  Stony  Point,  1 779, 
occupied  the  very  same  site.  Mr.  Walker’s  house  was  pos- 
sibly part  of  the  fortification  system  protecting  the  hill,  and 
no  doubt  served  as  a stronghold  in  the  war  of  1779  and  in 
earlier  wars  and  campaigns  fought  around  this  part  of  the 
country.  One  feels  the  history  of  many  generations  clinging 
to  the  place. 

We  took  our  places  in  the  upstairs  bedroom,  group- 
ing ourselves  so  as  to  form  an  imperfect  circle  around  Mrs. 
Garrett,  who  sat  in  a heavy,  solid  wooden  chair  with  her 
back  to  the  wall  and  her  face  toward  us. 

The  time  was  2:45  P.M.  and  the  room  was  fully  lit  by 
ample  daylight  coming  in  through  the  windows. 

After  a moment,  Mrs.  Garrett  placed  herself  in  full 
trance  by  means  of  autohypnosis.  Quite  suddenly  her  own 
personality  vanished,  and  the  medium  sank  back  into  her 
chair  completely  lifeless,  very  much  like  an  unused  garment 
discarded  for  the  time  being  by  its  owner.  But  not  for  long. 
A few  seconds  later,  another  personality  "got  into”  the 
medium’s  body,  precisely  the  way  one  dons  a shirt  or  coat. 

It  was  Uvani,  one  of  Mrs.  Garrett’s  two  spirit  guides  who 
act  as  her  control  personalities  in  all  of  her  experiments. 
Uvani,  in  his  own  lifetime,  was  an  East  Indian  of  consider- 
able knowledge  and  dignity,  and  as  such  he  now  appeared 
before  us. 

As  “he”  sat  up — I shall  refer  to  the  distinct  personal- 
ities now  using  the  "instrument”  (the  medium’s  body)  as 
“he”  or  "him” — it  was  obvious  that  we  had  before  us  a 
gentleman  from  India.  Facial  expression,  eyes,  color  of 
skin,  movements,  the  folded  arms,  and  the  finger  move- 


ments that  accompanied  many  of  his  words  were  all  those 
of  a native  of  India.  As  Uvani  addressed  us,  he  spoke  in 
perfect  English,  except  for  a faltering  word  now  and  then 
or  an  occasional  failure  of  idiom,  but  his  accent  was 
typical. 

At  this  point,  the  tape  recorder  faithfully  took  down 
every  word  spoken.  The  transcript  given  here  is  believed  to 
be  complete,  and  is  certainly  so  where  we  deal  with  Uvani, 
who  spoke  clearly  and  slowly.  In  the  case  of  the  ghost, 
much  of  the  speech  was  garbled  because  of  the  ghost’s 
unfortunate  condition;  some  of  the  phrases  were  repeated 
several  times,  and  a few  words  were  so  badly  uttered  that 
they  could  not  be  made  out  by  any  of  us.  In  order  to  pre- 
sent only  verifiable  evidence,  I have  eliminated  all  such 
words  and  report  here  nothing  which  was  not  completely 
understandable  and  clear.  But  at  least  70%  of  the  words 
uttered  by  the  ghost,  and  of  course  all  of  the  words  of 
Uvani,  are  on  record.  The  tape  recording  is  supplemented 
by  Miss  Davidson’s  exacting  transcript,  and  in  the  final 
moments  her  notes  replace  it  entirely. 

Uvani:  It  is  I,  Uvani.  I give  you  greeting,  friends.  Peace  be 
with  you,  and  in  your  lives,  and  in  this  house! 

Dr.  L. : And  our  greetings  to  you,  Uvani.  We  welcome 
you. 

Uvani:  I am  very  happy  to  speak  with  you,  my  good 
friend.  (Bows  to  Dr.  L.)  You  are  out  of  your  native 
element. 

Dr.  L. : Very  much  so.  We  have  not  spoken  in  this  env- 
ironment at  all  before. . . . 

Uvani:  What  is  it  what  you  would  have  of  me  today, 
please? 

Dr.  L. : We  are  met  here  as  friends  of  Mr.  Walker,  whose 
house  this  is,  to  investigate  strange  occurrences  which  have 
taken  place  in  this  house  from  time  to  time,  which  lead  us 
to  feel  that  they  partake  of  the  nature  of  this  field  of  inter- 
est of  ours.  We  would  be  guided  by  you,  Uvani,  as  to  the 
method  of  approach  which  we  should  use  this  afternoon. 
Our  good  friend  and  instrument  (Mrs.  Garrett)  has  the 
feeling  that  there  was  a personality  connected  with  this 
house  whose  influence  is  still  to  be  felt  here. 

Uvani:  Yes,  I would  think  so.  I am  confronted  myself 
with  a rather  restless  personality.  In  fact,  a very  strange 
personality,  and  one  that  might  appear  to  be  in  his  own  life 
perhaps  not  quite  of  the  right  mind — I think  you  would 
call  it. 

I have  a great  sense  of  agitation.  I would  like  to  tell 
you  about  this  personality,  and  at  the  same  time  draw  your 
attention  to  the  remarkable — what  you  might  call — atmos- 
pherics that  he  is  able  to  bring  into  our  environment.  You, 
who  are  my  friend  and  have  worked  with  me  very  much, 
know  that  when  I am  in  control,  we  are  very  calm — yes? 

Yet  it  is  as  much  as  I can  do  to  maintain  the  control,  as 


CHAPTER  FIVE:  Famous  Ghosts 
80 


you  see — for  such  is  the  atmosphere  produced  by  this  per- 
sonality, that  you  will  note  my  own  difficulty  to  retain  and 
constrain  the  instrument.  (The  medium’s  hand  shakes  in 
rapid  palsy.  Uvani’s  voice  tremble.)  This  one,  in  spite  of 
me,  by  virtue  of  his  being  with  us  brings  into  the  process 
of  our  field  of  work  a classical  palsy.  Do  you  see  this? 

Dr.  L.:  Ido. 

Uvani:  This  was  his  condition,  and  that  is  why  it  may  be 
for  me  perhaps  necessary  (terrific  shaking  of  medium  at 
this  point)  to  ask  you  to — deal — with  this — personality 
yourself — while  I withdraw — to  create  a little  more  qui- 
etude around  the  instrument.  Our  atmosphere,  as  you 
notice,  is  charged. . . . You  will  not  be  worried  by  anything 
that  may  happen,  please.  You  will  speak,  if  you  can,  with 
this  one — and  you  will  eventually  return  the  instrument  to 
my  control. 

Dr.  L.:  I will. 

Uvani:  Will  you  please  to  remember  that  you  are  dealing 
with  a personality  very  young,  tired,  who  has  been  very 
much  hurt  in  life,  and  who  was,  for  many  years  prior  to  his 
passing,  unable — how  you  say — to  think  for  himself.  Now 
will  you  please  take  charge,  so  that  I permit  the  complete 
control  to  take  place. . . . 

Uvani  left  the  body  of  the  medium  at  this  point.  For 
a moment,  all  life  seemed  gone  from  it  as  it  lay  still  in  the 
chair.  Then,  suddenly,  another  personality  seemed  to  pos- 
sess it.  Slowly,  the  new  personality  sat  up,  hands  violently 
vibrating  in  palsy,  face  distorted  in  extreme  pain,  eyes 
blinking,  staring,  unable  to  see  anything  at  first,  looking 
straight  through  us  all  without  any  sign  of  recognition.  All 
this  was  accompanied  by  increasing  inarticulate  outcries, 
leading  later  into  halting,  deeply  emotional  weeping. 

For  about  ten  seconds,  the  new  personality  main- 
tained its  position  in  the  chair,  but  as  the  movements  of 
the  hands  accelerated,  it  suddenly  leaned  over  and  crashed 
to  the  floor,  narrowly  missing  a wooden  chest  nearby. 
Stretched  out  on  the  floor  before  us,  "he”  kept  uttering 
inarticulate  sounds  for  perhaps  one  or  two  minutes,  while 
vainly  trying  to  raise  himself  from  the  floor. 

One  of  Dr.  L.  ’s  crutches,  which  he  uses  when  walk- 
ing about,  was  on  the  floor  next  to  his  chair.  The  entity 
seized  the  crutch  and  tried  to  raise  himself  with  its  help, 
but  without  success.  Throughout  the  next  seconds,  he  tried 
again  to  use  the  crutch,  only  to  fall  back  onto  the  floor. 

One  of  his  legs,  the  left  one,  continued  to  execute  rapid 
convulsive  movements  typical  of  palsy.  It  was  quite  visible 
that  the  leg  had  been  badly  damaged.  Now  and  again  he 
threw  his  left  hand  to  his  head,  touching  it  as  if  to  indicate 
that  his  head  hurt  also. 

Dr.  L. : We  are  friends,  and  you  may  speak  with  us.  Let  us 
help  you  in  any  way  we  can.  We  are  friends. 


Entity:  Mhh — mhh — mhh — (inarticulate  sounds  of  sobbing 
and  pain). 

Dr.  L. : Speak  with  us.  Speak  with  us.  Can  we  help  you? 
(More  crying  from  the  entity)  You  will  be  able  to  speak 
with  us.  Now  you  are  quieter.  You  will  be  able  to  talk  to 
us.  (The  entity  crawls  along  the  floor  to  Mr.  Walker, 
seems  to  have  eyes  only  for  him,  and  remains  at  Walker’s 
knee  throughout  the  interrogation.  The  crying  becomes 
softer.)  Do  you  understand  English? 

Entity:  Friend. . .friend.  Mercy... mercy... mercy....  (The 
English  has  a marked  Polish  accent,  the  voice  is  rough, 
uncouth,  bragging,  emotional.)  I know. . .1  know. . .1 
know. . . . (pointing  at  Mr.  Walker) 

Dr.  L. : When  did  you  know  him  before? 

Entity:  Stones. . .stones. . . . Don’t  let  them  take  me! 

Dr.  L. : No,  we  won’t  let  them  take  you. 

Entity:  (More  crying)  Talk. . . . 

Mr.  Walker:  You  want  to  talk  to  me?  Yes,  I’ll  talk  to  you. 
Entity:  Can’t  talk. . .. 

Mr.  Walker:  Can’t  talk?  It  is  hard  for  you  to  talk? 

Entity:  (Nods)  Yes. 

Dr.  L. : You  want  water?  Food?  Water? 

Entity:  (Shakes  head)  Talk!  Talk!  (To  Mr.  Walker)  Friend? 
You? 

Mr.  Walker:  Yes,  friend.  We’re  all  friends. 

Entity:  (Points  to  his  head,  then  to  his  tongue.) 

Stones...  no? 

Dr.  L. : No  stones.  You  will  not  be  stoned. 

Entity:  No  beatin'? 

Dr.  L. : No,  you  won’t  be  stoned,  you  won’t  be  beaten. 
Entity:  Don’t  go! 

Mr.  Walker:  No,  we  are  staying  right  here. 

Entity:  Can’t  talk. . . . 

Mr.  Walker:  You  can  talk.  We  are  all  friends. 

Dr.  L. : It  is  difficult  with  this  illness  that  you  have,  but 
you  can  talk.  Your  friend  there  is  Mr.  Walker.  And  what 
is  your  name? 

Entity:  He  calls  me.  I have  to  get  out.  I cannot  go  any  fur- 
ther. In  God’s  name  I cannot  go  any  further.  (Touches  Mr. 
Walker) 

Mr.  Walker:  I will  protect  you.  (At  the  word  "protect”  the 
entity  sits  up,  profoundly  struck  by  it.)  What  do  you  fear? 
Entity:  Stones.... 

Mr.  Walker:  Stones  thrown  at  you? 

Dr.  L. : That  will  not  happen  again. 

Entity:  Friends!  Wild  men. . .you  know. ... 


The  Rockland  County  Ghost 

81 


Mr.  Walker:  Indians? 

Entity:  No. 

Dr.  L. : White  man? 

Entity:  Mh... teeth  gone — (shows  graphically  how  his 
teeth  were  kicked  in) 

Mr.  Walker:  Teeth  gone. 

Dr.  L. : They  knocked  your  teeth  out? 

Entity:  See?  I can’t. . . . Protect  me! 

Mr.  Walker:  Yes,  yes.  We  will  protect  you.  No  more  beat- 
ings, no  more  stones. 

Dr.  L. : You  live  here?  This  is  your  house? 

Entity:  (Violent  gesture,  loud  voice)  No,  oh  no!  I hide  here. 
Mr.  Walker:  In  the  woods? 

Entity:  Cannot  leave  here. 

Dr.  L. : Whom  do  you  hide  from? 

Entity:  Big,  big,  strong. . .big,  big,  strong.... 

Dr.  L. : Is  he  the  one  that  beat  you? 

Entity:  (Shouts)  All... I know. ..I  know. ..I  know.... 

Dr.  L. : You  know  the  names? 

Entity:  (Hands  on  Mr.  Walker’s  shoulders)  Know  the 
plans.... 

Dr.  L. : They  tried  to  find  the  plans,  to  make  you  tell,  but 
you  did  not  tell?  And  your  head  hurts? 

Entity:  (Just  nods  to  this)  Ah. . .ah. . . . 

Dr.  L. : And  you’ve  been  kicked,  and  beaten  and  stoned. 
(The  entity  nods  violently.) 

Mr.  Walker:  Where  are  the  plans? 

Entity:  I hid  them. . .far,  far. . . . 

Mr.  Walker:  Where  did  you  hide  the  plans?  We  are 
friends,  you  can  tell  us. 

Entity:  Give  me  map. 

(The  entity  is  handed  note  pad  and  pen,  which  he 
uses  in  the  stiff  manner  of  a quill.  The  drawing,  showing 
the  unsteady  and  vacillating  lines  of  a palsy  sufferer,  is  on 
hand.) 

Entity:  In  your  measure. . .Andreas  Hid. . . . (drawing) 

Mr.  Walker:  Where  the  wagon  house  lies? 

Entity:  A house. . .not  in  the  house. . .timber 
house... log.... 

Mr.  Walker:  Log  house? 

Entity:  (Nods)  Plans. . .log  house. . .under. . .under. . . 
stones.. .fifteen. . .log. . .fifteen  stones. . .door. . .plans — 
for  whole  shifting  of . . . . 

Mr.  Walker:  Of  ammunitions? 


CHAPTER  FIVE:  Famous  Ghosts 
82 


— 

Entity:  No. . .men  and  ammunitions. . .plans — I have  for 
French. ...  I have  plans  for  French. . .plans  I have  to 
deliver  to  log  house. . .right  where  sun  strikes  window. . . . 

Dr.  L. : Fifteen  stones  from  the  door? 

Entity:  Where  sun  strikes  the  window. . . . Fifteen  stones. . . 
under. . .in  log  house. . . . There  I have  put  away . . . 
plans. . . . (agitated)  Not  take  again! 

Mr.  Walker:  No,  no,  we  will  not  let  them  take  you  again. 

We  will  protect  you  from  the  English. 

Entity:  (Obviously  touched)  No  one  ever  say — no  one  ever 
say — I will  protect  you. . . . 

Mr.  Walker:  Yes,  we  will  protect  you.  You  are  protected 
now  for  always. 

Entity:  Don’t  send  me  away,  no? 

Dr.  L. : No,  we  won’t  send  you  away. 

Entity:  Protect. . .protect. . .protect. . . . 

Dr.  L. : You  were  not  born  in  this  country? 

Entity:  No. 

Dr.  L. : You  are  a foreigner? 

Entity:  (Hurt  and  angry,  shouts)  Yeah. . .dog!  They  call 
me  dog.  Beasts! 

Dr.  L. : Are  you  German?  (The  entity  makes  a disdainful 
negative  gesture.)  Polish? 

Entity:  Yes. 

Dr.  L. : You  came  here  when  you  were  young? 

Entity:  (His  voice  is  loud  and  robust  with  the  joy  of  meet- 
ing a countryman.)  Das. . .das. . .das!  Yes. . .brother? 

Friends?  Pole?  Polski,  yeah? 

Mr.  Walker:  Yes,  yes. 

Entity:  (Throws  arms  around  Walker)  I hear. . .1  see. . . 
like. . .like brother. . .like brother. . Jilitze. ..Jilitze. ... 

Mr.  Walker:  What  is  your  name? 

Entity:  Gospodin!  Gospodin!  (Polish  for  “master”) 

Mr.  Walker:  What’s  the  name?  (in  Polish)  Zo  dje  lat? 

Entity:  (Touching  Mr.  Walker’s  face  and  hands  as  he 
speaks)  Hans?  Brother. . .like  Hans. . .like  Hans. . .me 
Andre — you  Hans. 

Mr.  Walker:  I’m  Hans? 

Entity : My  brother ...  he  killed  too ...  I die ...  I die .. . 
die. . .die 

Mr.  Walker:  Where?  At  Tappan?  Stony  Point? 

Entity:  Big  field,  battle.  Noise,  noise.  Big  field.  Hans  like 
you. 

Mr.  Walker:  How  long  ago  was  this  battle? 

Entity:  Like  yesterday ..  .like  yesterday. . .1  lie  here  in  dark 
night . . . bleed ...  call  Hans . . . call  Hans ...  Polski? 

Mr.  Walker:  Did  you  die  here? 


Entity:  Out  here. ...  (pointing  down)  Say  again. . .protect, 
friend....  (points at  himself)  Me,  me. . .you. . .Andreas? 

You  like  Hans. . .friend,  brother. . .you. . .Andreas? 

Dr.  L. : Do  you  know  anything  about  dates? 

Entity:  Like  yesterday.  English  all  over.  Cannot. . .they  are 
terrible. . . . (hits  his  head) 

Dr.  L. : You  were  with  the  Americans? 

Entity:  No,  no. 

Dr.  L. : Yankees? 

Entity:  No,  no.  Big  word. ..Re. ..Re. ..Republic... 

Republic. . . . (drops  back  to  the  floor  with  an  outcry  of 
pain) 

Dr.  L. : You  are  still  with  friends.  You  are  resting.  You  are 
safe. 

Entity:  Protection. . .protection. . .the  stars  in  the 
flag. . .the  stars  in  the  flag. . . Republic. . .they  sing. . . . 

Dr.  L. : How  long  have  you  been  hiding  in  this  house? 
Entity:  I go  to  talk  with  brother  later. . . . Big  man  say,  you 
go  away,  he  talk  now. ...  I go  away  a little,  he  stays. . .he 
talk. . .he  here  part  of  the  time. . . . 

By  “big  man’’  the  entity  was  referring  to  his  guide, 
Uvani.  The  entity  rested  quietly,  becoming  more  and  more 
lifeless  on  the  floor.  Soon  all  life  appeared  to  be  gone  from 
the  medium’s  body.  Then  Uvani  returned,  took  control,  sat 
up,  got  back  up  into  the  chair  without  trouble,  and 
addressed  us  in  his  learned  and  quiet  manner  as  before. 

Uvani:  (Greeting  us  with  bended  arms,  bowing)  You  will 
permit  me.  You  do  not  very  often  find  me  in  such  sur- 
roundings. I beg  your  pardon.  Now  let  me  tell  to  you  a lit- 
tle of  what  I have  been  able  to  ascertain.  You  have  here 
obviously  a poor  soul  who  is  unhappily  caught  in  the 
memory  of  perhaps  days  or  weeks  or  years  of  confusion.  I 
permit  him  to  take  control  in  order  to  let  him  play  out  the 
fantasy ...  in  order  toplayoutthe  fears  .thedifficulties....  I 
am  able  thus  to  relax  this  one.  It  is  then  that  I will  give 
you  what  I see  of  this  story. 

He  was  obviously  kept  a prisoner  of. . .a  hired  army. 
There  had  been  different  kinds  of  soldiers  from  Europe 
brought  to  this  country.  He  tells  me  that  he  had  been  in 
other  parts  of  this  country  with  French  troops,  but  they 
were  friendly.  He  was  a friend  for  a time  with  one  who  was 
friendly  not  only  with  your  own  people,  but  with  Revolu- 
tionary troops.  He  seems,  therefore,  a man  who  serves  a 
man. . .a  mercenary. 

He  became  a jackboot  for  all  types  of  men  who  have 
fought,  a good  servant.  He  is  now  here,  now  there. 

He  does  not  understand  for  whom  he  works.  He 
refers  to  an  Andre,  with  whom  he  is  for  some  time  in  con- 
tact, and  he  likes  this  Andre  very  much  because  of  the 
similar  name. . .because  he  is  Andre(w)ski.  There  is  this 
similarity  to  Andre.  It  is  therefore  he  has  been  used,  as  far 


as  I can  see,  as  a cover-up  for  this  man.  Here  then  is  the 
confusion. 

He  is  caught  two  or  three  times  by  different  people 
because  of  his  appearance — he  is  a “dead  ringer”. . .a  dou- 
ble. His  friend  Andre  disappears,  and  he  is  lost  and  does 
what  he  can  with  this  one  and  that  one,  and  eventually  he 
finds  himself  in  the  hands  of  the  British  troops.  He  is 
known  to  have  letters  and  plans,  and  these  he  wants  me  to 
tell  you  were  hidden  by  him  due  east  of  where  you  now 
find  yourselves,  in  what  he  says  was  a temporary  building 
of  sorts  in  which  were  housed  different  caissons.  In  this 
there  is  also  a rest  house  for  guards.  In  this  type  kitchen 
he. . .he  will  not  reveal  the  plans  and  is  beaten  mercilessly. 
His  limbs  are  broken  and  he  passes  out,  no  longer  in  the 
right  mind,  but  with  a curious  break  on  one  side  of  the 
body,  and  his  leg  is  damaged. 

It  would  appear  that  he  is  from  time  to  time  like  one 
in  a coma — he  wakes,  dreams,  and  loses  himself  again,  and 
I gather  from  the  story  that  he  is  not  always  aware  of  peo- 
ple. Sometimes  he  says  it  is  a long  dream.  Could  it  there- 
fore be  that  these  fantasies  are  irregular?  Does  he  come  and 
go?  You  get  the  kind  of  disturbance — “Am  I dreaming? 
What  is  this?  A feeling  that  there  is  a tempest  inside  of 

me ” So  I think  he  goes  into  these  states,  suspecting 

them  himself.  This  is  his  own  foolishness. . .lost  between 
two  states  of  being. 

(To  Mr.  Walker  who  is  tall  and  blue-eyed) 

He  has  a very  strong  feeling  that  you  are  like  his 
brother,  Sahib.  This  may  account  for  his  desire  to  be  near 
you.  He  tells  me,  “I  had  a brother  and  left  him  very 
young,  tall,  blue-eyed,”  and  he  misses  him  in  a battlefield 
in  this  country. 

Now  I propose  with  your  prayers  and  help  to  try  to 
find  his  brother  for  him.  And  I say  to  him,  “I  have  asked 
for  your  protection,  where  you  will  not  be  outcast, 
degraded,  nor  debased,  where  you  will  come  and  go  in 
freedom.  Do  as  your  friends  here  ask.  In  the  name  of  that 
God  and  that  faith  in  which  you  were  brought  up,  seek  sal- 
vation and  mercy  for  your  restlessness.  Go  in  peace.  Go  to 
a kindlier  dream.  Go  out  where  there  is  a greater  life. 

Come  with  us — you  are  not  with  your  kind.  In  mercy  let 
us  go  hand  in  hand.” 

Now  he  looks  at  me  and  asks,  “If  I should  return, 
would  he  like  unto  my  brother  welcome  me?”  I do  not 
think  he  will  return,  but  if  you  sense  him  or  his  wildness 
of  the  past,  I would  say  unto  you,  Sahib,  address  him  as 
we  have  here.  Say  to  him,  “You  who  have  found  the  God 
of  your  childhood  need  not  return.”  Give  him  your  love 
and  please  with  a prayer  send  him  away. 

May  there  be  no  illness,  nor  discord,  nor  unhappiness 
in  this  house  because  he  once  felt  it  was  his  only  resting 
place.  Let  there  indeed  be  peace  in  your  hearts  and  let 

The  Rockland  County  Ghost 

83 


there  be  understanding  between  here  and  there.  It  is  such  a 
little  way,  although  it  looks  so  far.  Let  us  then  in  our  daily 
life  not  wait  for  this  grim  experience,  but  let  us  help  in 
every  moment  of  our  life. 

Mr.  Walker  was  softly  repeating  the  closing  prayer. 
Uvani  relinquished  control,  saying,  "Peace  be  unto 
you.  ..until  we  meet  again.”  The  medium  fell  back  in  the 
chair,  unconscious  for  a few  moments.  Then  her  own  per- 
sonality returned. 

Mrs.  Garrett  rose  from  the  chair,  blinked  her  eyes, 
and  seemed  none  the  worse  for  the  highly  dramatic  and 
exciting  incidents  which  had  taken  place  around  her — none 
of  which  she  was  aware  of.  Every  detail  of  what  had  hap- 
pened had  to  be  told  to  Mrs.  Garrett  later,  as  the  trance 
state  is  complete  and  no  memory  whatsoever  is  retained. 

It  was  2:45  P.M.  when  Mrs.  Garrett  went  into  trance, 
and  4 P.M.  when  the  operation  came  to  an  end.  After  some 
discussion  of  the  events  of  the  preceding  hour  and  a quar- 
ter, mainly  to  iron  out  differing  impressions  received  by 
the  participants,  we  left  Mr.  Walker’s  house  and  drove 
back  to  New  York. 

On  December  2,  1952,  Mr.  Walker  informed  me  that 
"the  atmosphere  about  the  place  does  seem  much  calmer.” 
It  seems  reasonable  to  assume  that  the  restless  ghost  has  at 
last  found  that  “sweeter  dream”  of  which  Uvani  spoke. 

In  cases  of  this  nature,  where  historical  names  and 
facts  are  part  of  the  proceedings,  it  is  always  highly  desir- 
able to  have  them  corroborated  by  research  in  the  available 


» 7 

A Revolutionary  Corollary: 

Patrick  Henry,  Nathan  Hale,  et  al. 

Nathan  Hale,  as  every  schoolboy  knows,  was  the 
American  spy  hanged  by  the  British.  He  was  captured  at 
Huntington  Beach  and  taken  to  Brooklyn  for  trial.  How  he 
was  captured  is  a matter  of  some  concern  to  the  people  of 
Huntington,  Long  Island.  The  town  was  originally  settled 
by  colonists  from  Connecticut  who  were  unhappy  with  the 
situation  in  that  colony.  There  were  five  principal  families 
who  accounted  for  the  early  settlement  of  Huntington,  and 
to  this  day  their  descendants  are  the  most  prominent  fami- 
lies in  the  area.  They  were  the  Sammes,  the  Downings,  the 
Busches,  the  Pauldings,  and  the  Cooks.  During  the  Revo- 
lutionary War,  feelings  were  about  equally  divided  among 
the  townspeople:  some  were  Revolutionaries  and  some 
remained  Tories.  The  consensus  of  historians  is  that  mem- 
bers of  these  five  prominent  families,  all  of  whom  were 


CHAPTER  FIVE:  Famous  Ghosts 


reference  works.  In  the  case  of  "The  Ghost  of  Ash  Manor” 
(Tomorrow,  Autumn  1952)  this  was  comparatively  easy,  as 
we  were  dealing  with  a personality  of  some  rank  and 
importance  in  his  own  lifetime.  In  this  case,  however,  we 
were  dealing  with  an  obscure  immigrant  servant,  whose 
name  is  not  likely  to  appear  in  any  of  the  regimental 
records  available  for  the  year  and  place  in  question.  In  fact, 
extensive  perusal  of  such  records  shows  no  one  who  might 
be  our  man.  There  were  many  enlisted  men  with  the  name 
Andreas  serving  in  the  right  year  and  in  the  right  regiment 
for  our  investigation,  but  none  of  them  seems  to  fit. 

And  why  should  it?  After  all,  our  Andrewski  was  a 
very  young  man  of  no  particular  eminence  who  served  as 
ordinary  jackboot  to  a succession  of  colonial  soldiers,  as 
Uvani  and  he  himself  pointed  out.  The  search  for  Andreas’ 
brother  Hans  was  almost  as  negative.  Pursuing  a hunch 
that  the  Slavic  exclamation  “Jilitze. . .Jilitze. . . ” which  the 
ghost  made  during  the  interrogation,  might  have  been 
“Ulica...Ulica. ...”  I found  that  a Johannes  Ulick  (Hans 
Ulick  could  be  spelled  that  way)  did  indeed  serve  in  1779 
in  the  Second  Tryon  County  Regiment. 

The  "fifteen  stones  to  the  east”  to  which  the  ghost 
referred  as  the  place  where  he  hid  the  plans  may  very  well 
have  been  the  walk  leading  from  the  house  to  the  log  house 
across  the  road.  Some  of  these  stone  steps  are  still  pre- 
served. What  happened  to  the  plans,  we  shall  never  know. 
They  were  probably  destroyed  by  time  and  weather,  or 
were  found  and  deposited  later  in  obscure  hands.  No  mat- 
ter which — it  is  no  longer  of  concern  to  anyone. 


Tories,  were  responsible  for  the  betrayal  of  Nathan  Hale  to 
the  British. 

All  this  was  brought  to  my  attention  by  Mrs.  Geral- 
dine P.  of  Huntington.  Mrs.  P.  grew  up  in  what  she  con- 
siders the  oldest  house  in  Huntington,  although  the 
Huntington  Historical  Society  claims  that  theirs  is  even 
older.  Be  that  as  it  may,  it  was  there  when  the  Revolution- 
ary War  started.  Local  legend  has  it  that  an  act  of  violence 
took  place  on  the  corner  of  the  street,  which  was  then  a 
crossroads  in  the  middle  of  a rural  area.  The  house  in 
which  Mrs.  P.  grew  up  stands  on  that  street.  Mrs.  P.  sus- 
pects that  the  capture — or,  at  any  rate,  the  betrayal — of  the 
Revolutionary  agent  took  place  on  that  crossroads.  When 
she  tried  to  investigate  the  history  of  her  house,  she  found 
little  cooperation  on  the  part  of  the  local  historical  society. 
It  was  a conspiracy  of  silence,  according  to  her,  as  if  some 
people  wanted  to  cover  up  a certain  situation  from  the  past. 

The  house  had  had  a “strange  depressing  effect  on  all 
its  past  residents,”  according  to  Mrs.  P.  Her  own  father, 
who  studied  astrology  and  white  magic  for  many  years, 
related  an  incident  that  occurred  in  the  house.  He  awoke  in 
the  middle  of  the  night  in  the  master  bedroom  because  he 
felt  unusually  cold.  He  became  aware  of  “something”  rush- 


84 


ing  about  the  room  in  wild,  frantic  circles.  Because  of  his 
outlook  and  training,  he  spoke  up,  saying,  “Can  I help 
you?”  But  the  rushing  about  became  even  more  frantic.  He 
then  asked  what  was  wrong  and  what  could  be  done.  But 
no  communication  was  possible.  When  he  saw  that  he 
could  not  communicate  with  the  entity,  Mrs.  P.’s  father 
finally  said,  “If  I can’t  help  you,  then  go  away.”  There  was 
a snapping  sound,  and  the  room  suddenly  became  quiet 
and  warm  again,  and  he  went  back  to  sleep.  There  have 
been  no  other  recorded  incidents  at  the  house  in  question. 
But  Mrs.  P.  wonders  if  some  guilty  entity  wants  to  mani- 
fest, not  necessarily  Nathan  Hale,  but  perhaps  someone 
connected  with  his  betrayal. 

At  the  corner  of  43rd  Street  and  Vanderbilt  Avenue, 
Manhattan,  one  of  the  busiest  and  noisiest  spots  in  all  of 
New  York  City,  there  is  a small  commemorative  plaque 
explaining  that  Nathan  Hale,  the  Revolutionary  spy,  was 
executed  on  that  spot  by  the  British.  I doubt  that  too  many 
New  Yorkers  are  aware  of  this,  or  can  accurately  pinpoint 
the  location  of  the  tragedy.  It  is  even  less  likely  that  a for- 
eigner would  know  about  it.  When  I suggested  to  my  good 
friend  Sybil  Leek  that  she  accompany  me  to  a psychically 
important  spot  for  an  experiment,  she  readily  agreed. 
Despite  the  noises  and  the  heavy  traffic,  the  spot  being 
across  from  Grand  Central  Station,  Sybil  bravely  stood 
with  me  on  the  street  corner  and  tried  to  get  some  sort  of 
psychic  impression. 

“I  get  the  impression  of  food  and  drink,”  Sybil  said.  I 
pointed  out  that  there  were  restaurants  all  over  the  area, 
but  Sybil  shook  her  head.  "No,  I was  thinking  more  of  a 
place  for  food  and  drink,  and  I don’t  mean  in  the  present. 

It  is  more  like  an  inn,  a transit  place,  and  it  has  some  con- 
nection with  the  river.  A meeting  place,  perhaps,  some  sort 
of  inn.  Of  course,  it  is  very  difficult  in  this  noise  and  with 
all  these  new  buildings  here.” 

“If  we  took  down  these  buildings,  what  would  we 

see?” 

"I  think  we  would  see  a field  and  water.  I have  a 
strong  feeling  that  there  is  a connection  with  water  and 
with  the  inn.  There  are  people  coming  and  going — I sense 
a woman,  but  I don’t  think  she’s  important.  I am  not 
sure. . .unless  it  would  mean  foreign.  I hear  a foreign  lan- 
guage. Something  like  Verchenen*  I can’t  quite  get  it.  It  is 
not  German.” 

“Is  there  anything  you  feel  about  this  spot?” 

“This  spot,  yes.  I think  I want  to  go  back  two  hun- 
dred years  at  least,  it  is  not  very  clear,  1769  or  1796.  That 
is  the  period.  The  connection  with  the  water  puzzles  me.” 

“Do  you  feel  an  event  of  significance  here  at  any 
time?” 

“Yes.  It  is  not  strong  enough  to  come  through  to  me 
completely,  but  sufficiently  drastic  to  make  me  feel  a little 
nervous.” 

*Verplanck’s  Point,  on  the  Hudson  River,  was  a Revolutionary 
strongpoint  at  the  time. 


“In  what  way  is  it  drastic?” 

"Hurtful,  violent.  There  are  several  people  involved 
in  this  violence.  Something  connected  with  water,  papers 
connected  with  water,  that  is  part  of  the  trouble.” 

Sybil  then  suggested  that  we  go  to  the  right  to  see  if 
the  impressions  might  be  stronger  at  some  distance.  We 
went  around  the  corner  and  I stopped.  Was  the  impression 
any  stronger? 

“No,  the  impression  is  the  same.  Papers,  violence. 

For  a name,  I have  the  impression  of  the  letters  P.T.  Peter. 
It  would  be  helpful  to  come  here  in  the  middle  of  the 
night,  I think.  I wish  I could  understand  the  connection 
with  water,  here  in  the  middle  of  the  city.” 

“Did  someone  die  here?” 

Sybil  closed  her  eyes  and  thought  it  over  for  a 
moment.  “Yes,  but  the  death  of  this  person  was  important 
at  that  time  and  indeed  necessary.  But  there  is  more  to  it 
than  just  the  death  of  the  person.  The  disturbance  involves 
lots  of  other  things,  lots  of  other  people.  In  fact,  two  dis- 
tinct races  were  involved,  because  I sense  a lack  of  under- 
standing. I think  that  this  was  a political  thing,  and  the 
papers  were  important.” 

“Can  you  get  anything  further  on  the  nature  of  this 
violence  you  feel  here?" 

“Just  a disturbed  feeling,  an  upheaval,  a general  dis- 
turbance. I am  sorry  I can’t  get  much  else.  Perhaps  if  we 
came  here  at  night,  when  things  are  quieter." 

I suggested  we  get  some  tea  in  one  of  the  nearby 
restaurants.  Over  tea,  we  discussed  our  little  experiment 
and  Sybil  suddenly  remembered  an  odd  experience  she  had 
had  when  visiting  the  Hotel  Biltmore  before.  (The  plaque 
in  question  is  mounted  on  the  wall  of  the  hotel.)  “I  receive 
many  invitations  to  go  to  this  particular  area  of  New 
York,”  Sybil  explained,  “and  when  I go  I always  get  the 
feeling  of  repulsion  to  the  extent  where  I may  be  on  my 
way  down  and  get  into  a telephone  booth  and  call  the  peo- 
ple involved  and  say,  ‘No,  I’ll  meet  you  somewhere  else.’  I 
don’t  like  this  particular  area  we  just  left;  I find  it  very 
depressing.  I feel  trapped." 

* * * 

I am  indebted  to  R.  M.  Sandwich  of  Richmond,  Vir- 
ginia, for  an  intriguing  account  of  an  E.S.P.  experience  he 
has  connected  to  Patrick  Henry.  Mr.  Sandwich  stated  that 
he  has  had  only  one  E.S.P.  experience  and  that  it  took 
place  in  one  of  the  early  estate-homes  of  Patrick  Henry.  He 
admitted  that  the  experience  altered  his  previously  dim 
view  of  E.S.P.  The  present  owner  of  the  estate  has  said 
that  Mr.  Sandwich  has  not  been  the  only  one  to  experience 
strange  things  in  that  house. 

The  estate-home  where  the  incident  took  place  is 
called  Pine  Flash  and  is  presently  owned  by  E.  E.  Verdon, 
a personal  friend  of  Mr.  Sandwich.  It  is  located  in  Hanover 

A Revolutionary  Corollary: 

Patrick  Henry,  Nathan  Hale,  et  al. 


85 


County,  about  fifteen  miles  outside  of  Richmond.  The 
house  was  given  to  Patrick  Henry  by  his  father-in-law. 
After  Henry  had  lived  in  it  for  a number  of  years,  it 
burned  to  the  ground  and  was  not  rebuilt  until  fifteen  years 
later.  During  that  time  Henry  resided  in  the  old  cottage, 
which  is  directly  behind  the  house,  and  stayed  there  until 
the  main  house  had  been  rebuilt.  This  cottage  is  frequently 
referred  to  in  the  area  as  the  honeymoon  cottage  of  young 
Patrick  Henry.  The  new  house  was  rebuilt  exactly  as  it  had 
been  before  the  fire.  As  for  the  cottage,  which  is  still  in 
excellent  condition,  it  is  thought  to  be  the  oldest  wood 
frame  dwelling  in  Virginia.  It  may  have  been  there  even 
before  Patrick  Henry  lived  in  it. 

On  the  Fourth  of  July,  1968,  the  Sandwiches  had 
been  invited  to  try  their  luck  at  fishing  in  a pond  on  Mr. 
Verdon’s  land.  Since  they  would  be  arriving  quite  early  in 
the  morning,  they  were  told  that  the  oars  to  the  rowboat, 
which  they  were  to  use  at  the  pond,  would  be  found  inside 
the  old  cottage.  They  arrived  at  Pine  Flash  sometime 
around  6 A.M.  Mrs.  Sandwich  started  unpacking  their  fish- 
ing gear  and  food  supplies,  while  Mr.  Sandwich  decided  to 
inspect  the  cottage.  Although  he  had  been  to  the  place  sev- 
eral times  before,  he  had  never  actually  been  inside  the  cot- 
tage itself. 

Here  then  is  Mr.  Sandwich’s  report. 

"I  opened  the  door,  walked  in,  and  shut  the  door 
tight  behind  me.  Barely  a second  had  passed  after  I shut 
the  door  when  a strange  feeling  sprang  over  me.  It  was  the 
kind  of  feeling  you  would  experience  if  you  were  to  walk 
into  an  extremely  cold,  damp  room.  I remember  how  still 
everything  was,  and  then  I distinctly  heard  footsteps  over- 
head in  the  attic.  I called  out,  thinking  perhaps  there  was 
someone  upstairs.  No  one  answered,  nothing.  At  that  time 
I was  standing  directly  in  front  of  an  old  fireplace.  I admit 
I was  scared  half  to  death.  The  footsteps  were  louder  now 
and  seemed  to  be  coming  down  the  thin  staircase  toward 
me.  As  they  passed  me,  I felt  a cold,  crisp,  odd  feeling.  I 
started  looking  around  for  something,  anything  that  could 
have  caused  all  this.  It  was  during  this  time  that  I noticed 
the  closed  door  open  very,  very  slowly.  The  door  stopped 
when  it  was  half  opened,  almost  beckoning  me  to  take  my 
leave,  which  I did  at  great  speed!  As  I went  through  that 
open  door,  I felt  the  same  cold  mass  of  air  I had  experi- 
enced before.  Standing  outside,  I watched  the  door  slam 
itself,  almost  in  my  face!  My  wife  was  still  unpacking  the 
car  and  claims  she  neither  saw  nor  heard  anything.” 

* * * 

Revolutionary  figures  have  a way  of  hanging  on  to 
places  they  liked  in  life.  Candy  Bosselmann  of  Indiana  has 
had  a long  history  of  psychic  experiences.  She  is  a budding 
trance  medium  and  not  at  all  ashamed  of  her  talents.  In 
1964  she  happened  to  be  visiting  Ashland,  the  home  of 
Henry  Clay,  in  Lexington,  Kentucky.  She  had  never  been 

CHAPTER  FIVE:  Famous  Ghosts 


to  Ashland,  so  she  decided  to  take  a look  at  it.  She  and 
other  visitors  were  shown  through  the  house  by  an  older 
man,  a professional  guide,  and  Candy  became  somewhat 
restless  listening  to  his  historical  ramblings.  As  the  group 
entered  the  library  and  the  guide  explained  the  beautiful 
ash  paneling  taken  from  surrounding  trees  (for  which  the 
home  is  named),  she  became  even  more  restless.  She  knew 
very  well  that  it  was  the  kind  of  feeling  that  forewarned  her 
of  some  sort  of  psychic  event.  As  she  was  looking  over 
toward  a fireplace,  framed  by  two  candelabra,  she  suddenly 
saw  a very  tall,  white-haired  man  in  a long  black  frock  coat 
standing  next  to  it.  One  elbow  rested  on  the  mantel,  and 
his  head  was  in  his  hand,  as  if  he  were  pondering  some- 
thing very  important. 

Miss  Bosselmann  was  not  at  all  emotionally  involved 
with  the  house.  In  fact,  the  guided  tour  bored  her,  and  she 
would  have  preferred  to  be  outside  in  the  stables,  since  she 
has  a great  interest  in  horses.  Her  imagination  did  not  con- 
jure up  what  she  saw:  she  knew  in  an  instant  that  she  was 
looking  at  the  spirit  imprint  of  Henry  Clay. 

In  1969  she  visited  Ashland  again,  and  this  time  she 
went  into  the  library  deliberately.  With  her  was  a friend 
who  wasn’t  at  all  psychic.  Again,  the  same  restless  feeling 
came  over  her.  But  when  she  was  about  to  go  into  trance, 
she  decided  to  get  out  of  the  room  in  a hurry. 

* * * 

Rock  Ford,  the  home  of  General  Edward  Hand,  is 
located  four  miles  south  of  Lancaster,  Pennsylvania,  and 
commands  a fine  view  of  the  Conestoga  River.  The  house 
is  not  a restoration  but  a well-preserved  eighteenth -century 
mansion,  with  its  original  floors,  railings,  shutters,  doors, 
cupboards,  panelings,  and  window  glass.  Even  the  original 
wall  painting  can  be  seen.  It  is  a four -story  brick  mansion 
in  the  Georgian  style,  with  the  rooms  grouped  around  a 
center  hall  in  the  design  popular  during  the  latter  part  of 
the  eighteenth  century.  The  rooms  are  furnished  with 
antiquities  of  the  period,  thanks  to  the  discovery  of  an 
inventory  of  General  Hand’s  estate  which  permitted  the 
local  historical  society  to  supply  authentic  articles  of  daily 
usuage  wherever  the  originals  had  disappeared  from  the 
house. 

Perhaps  General  Edward  Hand  is  not  as  well  known 
as  a hero  of  the  American  Revolution  as  others  are,  but  to 
the  people  of  the  Pennsylvania  Dutch  country  he  is  an 
important  figure,  even  though  he  was  of  Irish  origin  rather 
than  German.  Trained  as  a medical  doctor  at  Trinity  Col- 
lege, Dublin,  he  came  to  America  in  1767  with  the  Eigh- 
teenth Royal  Irish  Regiment  of  Foote.  However,  he 
resigned  British  service  in  1774  and  came  to  Lancaster  to 
practice  medicine  and  surgery.  With  the  fierce  love  of  lib- 
erty so  many  of  the  Irish  possess,  Dr.  Hand  joined  the 
Revolutionaries  in  July  of  1 775,  becoming  a lieutenant 
colonel  in  the  Pennsylvania  Rifle  Battalion.  He  served  in 
the  army  until  1800,  when  he  was  discharged  as  a major 
general.  Dr.  Hand  was  present  at  the  Battle  of  Trenton,  the 


86 


Battle  of  Long  Island,  the  Battle  of  White  Plains,  the  Bat- 
tle of  Princeton,  the  campaign  against  the  Iroquois,  and  the 
surrender  of  Cornwallis  at  Yorktown.  He  also  served  on 
the  tribunal  which  convicted  Major  John  Andre  the  British 
spy,  and  later  became  the  army’s  adjutant  general.  He  was 
highly  regarded  by  George  Washington,  who  visited  him 
in  his  home  toward  the  end  of  the  war.  When  peace  came, 
Hand  became  a member  of  the  Continental  Congress  and 
served  in  the  Assembly  of  Pennsylvania  as  representative  of 
his  area.  He  moved  into  Rock  Ford  when  it  was  completed 
in  1793  and  died  there  in  September  1802. 

Today,  hostesses  from  a local  historical  society  serve 
as  guides  for  the  tourists  who  come  to  Rock  Ford  in 
increasing  numbers.  Visitors  are  taken  about  the  lower  floor 
and  basement  and  are  told  of  General  Hand’s  agricultural 
experiments,  his  medical  studies,  and  his  association  with 
George  Washington.  But  unless  you  ask  specifically,  you 
are  not  likely  to  hear  about  what  happened  to  the  house 
after  General  Hand  died.  To  begin  with,  the  General’s  son 
committed  suicide  in  the  house.  Before  long  the  family 
died  out,  and  eventually  the  house  became  a museum  since 
no  one  wanted  to  live  in  it  for  very  long.  At  one  time, 
immigrants  were  contacted  at  the  docks  and  offered  free 
housing  if  they  would  live  in  the  mansion.  None  stayed. 
There  was  something  about  the  house  that  was  not  as  it 
should  be,  something  that  made  people  fear  it  and  leave  it 
just  as  quickly  as  they  could. 

Mrs.  Ruth  S.  lives  in  upstate  New  York.  In  1967  a 
friend  showed  her  a brochure  concerning  Rock  Ford,  and 
the  house  intrigued  her.  Since  she  was  travelling  in  that 
direction,  she  decided  to  pay  Rock  Ford  a visit.  With  her 
family,  she  drove  up  to  the  house  and  parked  her  car  in  the 
rear.  At  that  moment  she  had  an  eerie  feeling  that  some- 
thing wasn’t  right.  Mind  you,  Mrs.  S.  had  not  been  to  the 
house  before,  had  no  knowledge  about  it  nor  any  indication 
that  anything  unusual  had  occurred  in  it.  The  group  of  vis- 
itors was  quite  small.  In  addition  to  herself  and  her  family, 
there  were  two  young  college  boys  and  one  other  couple. 
Even  though  it  was  a sunny  day,  Mrs.  S.  felt  icy  cold. 

"I  felt  a presence  before  we  entered  the  house  and 
before  we  heard  the  story  from  the  guide,”  she  explained. 
“If  I were  a hostess  there,  I wouldn’t  stay  there  alone  for 
two  consecutive  minutes.”  Mrs.  S.  had  been  to  many  old 
houses  and  restorations  before  but  had  never  felt  as  she  did 
at  Rock  Ford. 

* * * 

It  is  not  surprising  that  George  Washington  should 
be  the  subject  of  a number  of  psychic  accounts.  Probably 
the  best  known  (and  most  frequently  misinterpreted)  story 
concerns  General  Washington’s  vision  which  came  to  him 
during  the  encampment  at  Valley  Forge,  when  the  fortunes 
of  war  had  gone  heavily  in  favor  of  the  British,  and  the 
American  army,  tattered  and  badly  fed,  was  just  about 
falling  to  pieces.  If  there  ever  was  a need  for  divine  guid- 


ance, it  was  at  Valley  Forge.  Washington  was  in  the  habit 
of  meditating  in  the  woods  at  times  and  saying  his  prayers 
when  he  was  quite  alone.  On  one  of  those  occasions  he 
returned  to  his  quarters  more  worried  than  usual.  As  he 
busied  himself  with  his  papers,  he  had  the  feeling  of  a 
presence  in  the  room.  Looking  up,  he  saw  opposite  him  a 
singularly  beautiful  woman.  Since  he  had  given  orders  not 
to  be  disturbed,  he  couldn’t  understand  how  she  had  got- 
ten into  the  room.  Although  he  questioned  her  several 
times,  the  visitor  would  not  reply.  As  he  looked  at  the 
apparition,  for  that  is  what  it  was,  the  General  became 
more  and  more  entranced  with  her,  unable  to  make  any 
move.  For  a while  he  thought  he  was  dying,  for  he  imag- 
ined that  the  apparition  of  such  unworldly  creatures  as  he 
was  seeing  at  that  moment  must  accompany  the  moment  of 
transition. 

Finally,  he  heard  a voice,  saying,  “Son  of  the  Repub- 
lic, look  and  learn.”  At  the  same  time,  the  visitor  extended 
her  arm  toward  the  east,  and  Washington  saw  what  to  him 
appeared  like  white  vapor  at  some  distance.  As  the  vapor 
dissipated,  he  saw  the  various  countries  of  the  world  and 
the  oceans  that  separated  them.  He  then  noticed  a dark, 
shadowy  angel  standing  between  Europe  and  America,  tak- 
ing water  out  of  the  ocean  and  sprinkling  it  over  America 
with  one  hand  and  over  Europe  with  the  other.  When  he 
did  this,  a cloud  rose  from  the  countries  thus  sprinkled, 
and  the  cloud  then  moved  westward  until  it  enveloped 
America.  Sharp  flashes  of  lightning  became  visible  at  inter- 
vals in  the  cloud.  At  the  same  time,  Washington  thought 
he  heard  the  anguished  cries  of  the  American  people 
underneath  the  cloud.  Next,  the  strange  visitor  showed  him 
a vision  of  what  America  would  look  like  in  the  future,  and 
he  saw  villages  and  towns  springing  up  from  one  coast  to 
the  other  until  the  entire  land  was  covered  by  them. 

“Son  of  the  Republic,  the  end  of  the  century  cometh, 
look  and  learn,”  the  visitor  said.  Again  Washington  was 
shown  a dark  cloud  approaching  America,  and  he  saw  the 
American  people  fighting  one  another.  A bright  angel  then 
appeared  wearing  a crown  on  which  was  written  the  word 
Union.  This  angel  bore  the  American  Flag,  which  he 
placed  between  the  divided  nation,  saying,  “Remember, 
you  are  brethren."  At  that  instant,  the  inhabitants  threw 
away  their  weapons  and  became  friends  again. 

Once  more  the  mysterious  voice  spoke.  “Son  of  the 
Republic,  look  and  learn.”  Now  the  dark  angel  put  a trum- 
pet to  his  mouth  and  sounded  three  distinct  blasts.  Then 
he  took  water  from  the  ocean  and  sprinkled  it  on  Europe, 
Asia,  and  Africa.  As  he  did  so,  Washington  saw  black 
clouds  rise  from  the  countries  he  had  sprinkled.  Through 
the  black  clouds,  Washington  could  see  red  light  and 
hordes  of  armed  men,  marching  by  land  and  sailing  by  sea 
to  America,  and  he  saw  these  armies  devastate  the  entire 
country,  burn  the  villages,  towns,  and  cities,  and  as  he  lis- 

A Revolutionary  Corollary: 

Patrick  Henry,  Nathan  Hale,  et  al. 


87 


tened  to  the  thundering  of  the  cannon,  Washington  heard 
the  mysterious  voice  saying  again,  “Son  of  the  Fapublic, 
look  and  learn.” 

Once  more  the  dark  angel  put  the  trumpet  t^tis 
mouth  and  sounded  a long  and  fearful  blast.  As  he  did  so, 
a light  as  of  a thousand  suns  shone  down  from  above  him 
and  pierced  the  dark  cloud  which  had  enveloped  America. 
At  the  same  time  the  angel  wearing  the  word  Union  on  his 
head  descended  from  the  heavens,  followed  by  legions  of 
white  spirits.  Together  with  the  inhabitants  of  America, 
Washington  saw  them  renew  the  battle  and  heard  the  mys- 
terious voice  telling  him,  once  again,  "Son  of  the  Republic, 
look  and  learn.” 

For  the  last  time,  the  dark  angel  dipped  water  from 
the  ocean  and  sprinkled  it  on  America;  the  dark  cloud 
rolled  back  and  left  the  inhabitants  of  America  victorious. 
But  the  vision  continued.  Once  again  Washington  saw  vil- 
lages, towns,  and  cities  spring  up,  and  he  heard  the  bright 
angel  exclaim,  “While  the  stars  remain  and  the  heavens 
send  down  dew  upon  the  earth,  so  long  shall  the  Union 
last.”  With  that,  the  scene  faded,  and  Washington  beheld 
once  again  the  mysterious  visitor  before  him.  As  if  she  had 
guessed  his  question,  the  apparition  then  said: 

“Son  of  the  Republic,  what  you  have  seen  is  thus 
interpreted:  Three  great  perils  will  come  upon  the  Repub- 
lic. The  most  fearful  is  the  third,  during  which  the  whole 
world  united  shall  not  prevail  against  her.  Let  every  child 
of  the  Republic  learn  to  live  for  his  God,  his  land,  and  his 
Union.”  With  that,  the  vision  disappeared,  and  Washing- 
ton was  left  pondering  over  his  experience. 

One  can  interpret  this  story  in  many  ways,  of  course. 
If  it  really  occurred,  and  there  are  a number  of  accounts  of 
it  in  existence  which  lead  me  believe  that  there  is  a basis  of 
fact  to  this,  then  we  are  dealing  with  a case  of  prophecy  on 
the  part  of  General  Washington.  It  is  a moot  question 
whether  the  third  peril  has  already  come  upon  us,  in  the 
shape  of  World  War  II,  or  whether  it  is  yet  to  befall  us. 

The  light  that  is  stronger  than  many  suns  may  have  omi- 
nous meaning  in  this  age  of  nuclear  warfare. 

Washington  himself  is  said  to  have  appeared  to  Sena- 
tor Calhoun  of  South  Carolina  at  the  beginning  of  the  War 
between  the  States.  At  that  time,  the  question  of  secession 
had  not  been  fully  decided,  and  Calhoun,  one  of  the  most 
powerful  politicians  in  the  government,  was  not  sure 
whether  he  could  support  the  withdrawal  of  his  state  from 
the  Union.  The  question  lay  heavily  on  his  mind  when  he 
went  to  bed  one  hot  night  in  Charleston,  South  Carolina. 
During  the  night,  he  thought  he  awoke  to  see  the  appari- 
tion of  General  George  Washington  standing  by  his  bed- 
side. The  General  wore  his  presidential  attire  and  seemed 
surrounded  by  a bright  outline,  as  if  some  powerful  source 
of  light  shone  behind  him.  On  the  senator’s  desk  lay  the 
declaration  of  secession,  which  he  had  not  yet  signed.  With 
Calhoun’s  and  South  Carolina's  support,  the  Confederacy 


would  be  well  on  its  way,  having  closed  ranks.  Earnestly, 
the  spirit  of  George  Washington  pleaded  with  Senator  Cal- 
houn not  to  sign  the  declaration.  Fie  warned  him  against 
the  impending  perils  coming  to  America  as  a divided 
nation;  he  asked  him  to  reconsider  his  decision  and  to  work 
for  the  preservation  of  the  Union.  But  Calhoun  insisted 
that  the  South  had  to  go  its  own  way.  When  the  spirit  of 
Washington  saw  that  nothing  could  sway  Senator  Calhoun, 
he  warned  him  that  the  very  act  of  his  signature  would  be 
a black  spot  on  the  Constitution  of  the  United  States.  With 
that,  the  vision  is  said  to  have  vanished. 

One  can  easily  explain  the  experience  as  a dream, 
coming  as  it  did  at  a time  when  Senator  Calhoun  was  par- 
ticularly upset  over  the  implications  of  his  actions.  On  the 
other  hand,  there  is  this  to  consider:  Shortly  after  Calhoun 
had  signed  the  document  taking  South  Carolina  into  the 
Confederacy,  a dark  spot  appeared  on  his  hand,  a spot  that 
would  not  vanish  and  for  which  medical  authorities  had  no 
adequate  explanation. 

* * * 

Mrs.  Margaret  Smith  of  Orlando,  Florida,  has  had  a 
long  history  of  psychic  experiences.  She  has  personally  seen 
the  ghostly  monks  of  Beaulieu,  England;  she  has  seen  the 
actual  lantern  of  Joe  Baldwin,  the  famous  headless  ghost  of 
Wilmington,  North  Carolina;  and  she  takes  her  “supernat- 
ural” experiences  in  her  stride  the  way  other  people  feel 
about  their  musical  talents  or  hobbies.  When  she  was  only 
a young  girl,  her  grandmother  took  her  to  visit  the  von 
Steuben  house  in  Hackensack,  New  Jersey.  (General  F.  W. 
A.  von  Steuben  was  a German  supporter  of  the  American 
Revolution  who  aided  General  Washington  with  volunteers 
who  had  come  over  from  Europe  because  of  repressions, 
hoping  to  find  greater  freedom  in  the  New  World.)  The 
house  was  old  and  dusty,  the  floorboards  were  creaking, 
and  there  was  an  eerie  atmosphere  about  it.  The  house  had 
been  turned  into  an  historical  museum,  and  there  were 
hostesses  to  take  visitors  through. 

While  her  grandmother  was  chatting  with  the  guide 
downstairs,  the  young  girl  walked  up  the  stairs  by  herself. 
In  one  of  the  upstairs  parlors  she  saw  a man  sitting  in  a 
chair  in  the  corner.  She  assumed  he  was  another  guide. 
When  she  turned  around  to  ask  him  a question  about  the 
room,  he  was  gone.  Since  she  hadn’t  heard  him  leave,  that 
seemed  rather  odd  to  her,  especially  as  the  floorboards 
would  creak  with  every  step.  But  being  young  she  didn’t 
pay  too  much  attention  to  this  peculiarity.  A moment  later, 
however,  he  reappeared.  As  soon  as  she  saw  him,  she  asked 
the  question  she  had  on  her  mind.  This  time  he  did  not 
disappear  but  answered  her  in  a slow,  painstaking  voice 
that  seemed  to  come  from  far  away.  When  he  had  satisfied 
her  curiosity  about  the  room,  he  asked  her  some  questions 
about  herself,  and  finally  asked  the  one  which  stuck  in  her 
mind  for  many  years  afterward — “What  is  General  Wash- 
ington doing  now  about  the  British?” 


CHAPTER  FIVE:  Famous  Ghosts 


88 


Margaret  was  taken  aback  at  this  question.  She  was 
young,  but  she  knew  very  well  that  Washington  had  been 
dead  for  many  years.  Tactfully,  she  told  him  this  and 
added  that  Harry  Truman  was  now  president  and  that  the 


year  was  1 951.  At  this  information,  the  man  looked 
stunned/nd  sat  down  again  in  the  chair.  As  Margaret 
watched  him  in  fascinated  horror,  he  faded  away. 


* 8 

The  Vindication  of  Aaron  Burr 

VERY  FEW  HISTORICAL  figures  have  suffered  as  much 
from  their  enemies  or  have  been  as  misunderstood  and  per- 
sistently misrepresented  as  the  onetime  Vice-President  of 
the  United  States,  Aaron  Burr,  whose  contributions  to 
American  independence  are  frequently  forgotten  while  his 
later  troubles  are  made  to  represent  the  man. 

Burr  was  a lawyer,  a politician  who  had  served  in  the 
Revolutionary  forces  and  who  later  established  himself  in 
New  York  as  a candidate  of  the  Democratic- Republican 
party  in  the  elections  of  1796  and  1800.  He  didn’t  get 
elected  in  1796,  but  in  1800  he  received  exactly  as  many 
electoral  votes  as  Thomas  Jefferson.  When  the  House  of 
Representatives  broke  the  tie  in  Jefferson’s  favor,  Burr 
became  Vice-President. 

Burr  soon  realized  that  Jefferson  was  his  mortal 
enemy.  He  found  himself  isolated  from  all  benefits,  such  as 
political  patronage,  normally  accruing  to  one  in  his  posi- 
tion, and  he  was  left  with  no  political  future  at  the  end  of 
his  term.  Samuel  Engle  Burr,  a descendant  of  Theodosia 
Barstow  Burr,  Aaron’s  first  wife,  and  the  definitive  author- 
ity on  Aaron  Burr  himself,  calls  him  “the  American 
Phoenix,"  and  truly  he  was  a man  who  frequently  rose 
from  the  ashes  of  a smashed  career. 

Far  from  being  bitter  over  the  apparent  end  of  his 
career,  Burr  resumed  his  career  by  becoming  an  indepen- 
dent candidate  for  governor  of  New  York.  He  was 
defeated,  however,  by  a smear  campaign  in  which  both  his 
opponents,  the  Federalists,  and  the  regular  Democratic- 
Republican  party  took  part. 

"Some  of  the  falsehoods  and  innuendoes  contained  in 
this  campaign  literature,”  writes  Professor  Burr  in  his 
namesake’s  biography,  “have  been  repeated  as  facts  down 
through  the  years.  They  have  been  largely  responsible  for 
much  of  the  unwarranted  abuse  that  has  been  heaped  upon 
him  since  that  time.” 

Aside  from  Jefferson,  his  greatest  enemies  were  the 
members  of  the  Hamilton-Schuyler  family,  for  in  1791 
Burr  had  replaced  Alexander  Hamilton’s  father-in-law, 
General  Philip  Schuyler,  as  the  senator  from  New  York. 
Hamilton  himself  had  been  Burr’s  rival  from  the  days  of 
the  Revolutionary  War,  but  the  political  slurs  and  state- 
ments that  had  helped  to  defear  Burr  in  1804,  and  that  had 
been  attributed  to  Hamilton,  finally  led  to  the  famed  duel. 


In  accepting  Burr’s  challenge,  Hamilton  shared  the 
illegality  of  the  practice.  He  had  dueled  with  others  before, 
such  as  Commodore  Nicholson,  a New  York  politician,  in 
1795.  His  own  son,  Philip  Hamilton,  had  died  in  a duel 
with  New  York  lawyer  George  Eacker  in  1801.  Thus  nei- 
'ther  party  came  to  Weehawken,  New  Jersey  that  chilly  July 
morning  in  1 804  exactly  innocent  of  the  rules  of  the  game. 

Many  versions  have  been  published  as  to  what  hap- 
pened, but  to  this  day  the  truth  is  not  clear.  Both  men 
fired,  and  Burr’s  bullet  found  its  mark.  Whether  or  not  the 
wound  was  fatal  is  difficult  to  assess  today.  The  long  voy- 
age back  by  boat  and  the  primitive  status  of  medicine  in 
1 804  may  have  been  contributing  factors  to  Hamilton’s 
death. 

That  Alexander  Hamilton’s  spirit  was  not  exactly  at 
rest  I proved  a few  years  ago  when  I investigated  the  house 
in  New  York  City  where  he  had  spent  his  last  hours  after 
the  duel.  The  house  belonged  to  his  physician,  but  it  has 
been  torn  down  to  make  room  for  a modern  apartment 
house.  Several  tenants  have  seen  the  fleeting  figure  of  the 
late  Alexander  Hamilton  appear  in  the  house  and  hurry  out 
of  sight,  as  if  trying  to  get  someplace  fast.  I wonder  if  he  is 
trying  to  set  the  record  straight,  a record  that  saw  his 
opponent  Burr  charged  with  murder  by  the  State  of  New 
Jersey. 

Burr  could  not  overcome  the  popular  condemnation 
of  the  duel;  Hamilton  had  suddenly  become  a martyr,  and 
he,  the  villain.  He  decided  to  leave  New  York  for  a while 
and  went  to  eastern  Florida,  where  he  became  acquainted 
with  the  Spanish  colonial  system,  a subject  that  interested 
him  very  much  in  his  later  years.  Finally  he  returned  to 
Washington  and  resumed  his  duties  as  the  Vice-President 
of  the  United  States. 

In  1805  he  became  interested  in  the  possibilities  of 
the  newly  acquired  Louisiana  Territory,  and  tried  to  inter- 
est Jefferson  in  developing  the  region  around  the  Ouachita 
River  to  establish  there  still  another  new  state. 

Jefferson  turned  him  down,  and  finally  Burr  orga- 
nized his  own  expedition.  Everywhere  he  went  in  the  West 
he  was  cordially  received.  War  with  Spain  was  in  the  air, 
and  Burr  felt  the  United  States  should  prepare  for  it  and, 
at  the  right  time,  expand  its  frontiers  westward. 

Since  the  government  had  given  him  the  cold  shoul- 
der, Burr  decided  to  recruit  a group  of  adventurous 
colonists  to  join  him  in  establishing  a new  state  in 
Louisiana  Territory  and  await  the  outbreak  of  the  war  he 

The  Vindication  of  Aaron  Burr 


89 


felt  was  sure  to  come  soon.  He  purchased  four  hundred 
thousand  acres  of  land  in  the  area  close  to  the  Spanish  - 
American  frontier  and  planned  on  establishing  there  his 
dream  state,  to  be  called  Burrsylvania. 

In  the  course  of  his  plans,  Burr  had  worked  with  one 
General  James  Wilkinson,  then  civil  governor  of  Louisiana 
Territory  and  a man  he  had  known  since  the  Revolutionary 
War.  Unfortunately  Burr  did  not  know  that  Wilkinson  was 
actually  a double  agent,  working  for  both  Washington  and 
the  Spanish  government. 

In  order  to  bolster  his  position  with  the  Jefferson 
government,  Wilkinson  suggested  to  the  President  that 
Burr’s  activities  could  be  considered  treasonable.  The 
immediate  step  taken  by  Wilkinson  was  to  alter  one  of 
Burr’s  coded  letters  to  him  in  such  a way  that  Burr’s  state- 
ment could  be  used  against  him.  He  sent  the  document 
along  with  an  alarming  report  of  his  own  to  Jefferson  in 
July  of  1806. 

Meanwhile,  unaware  of  the  conspiracy  against  his 
expedition,  Burr's  colonists  arrived  in  the  area  around 
Natchez,  when  a presidential  proclamation  issued  by  Jeffer- 
son accused  him  of  treason.  Despite  an  acquittal  by  the  ter- 
ritorial government  of  Mississippi,  Washington  sent  orders 
to  seize  him. 

Burr,  having  no  intention  of  becoming  an  insurrec- 
tionist, disbanded  the  remnants  of  his  colonists  and 
returned  east.  On  the  way  he  was  arrested  and  taken  to 
Richmond  for  trial.  The  treason  trial  itself  was  larded  with 
paid  false  witnesses,  and  even  Wilkinson  admitted  having 
forged  the  letter  that  had  served  as  the  basis  for  the  gov- 
ernment’s case.  The  verdict  was  “not  guilty,”  but  the  pub- 
lic, inflamed  against  him  by  the  all-powerful  Jefferson 
political  machine,  kept  condemning  Aaron  Burr. 

Under  the  circumstances,  Burr  decided  to  go  to 
Europe.  He  spent  the  four  years  from  1808  to  1812  travel- 
ing abroad,  eventually  returning  to  New  York,  where  he 
reopened  his  law  practice  with  excellent  results. 

The  disappearance  at  sea  the  following  year  of  his 
only  daughter  Theodosia,  to  whom  he  had  been  extremely 
close,  shattered  him;  his  political  ambitions  vanished,  and 
he  devoted  the  rest  of  his  life  to  an  increasingly  successful 
legal  practice.  In  1833  he  married  for  the  second  time — his 
first  wife,  Theodosia’s  mother,  also  called  Theodosia,  hav- 
ing died  in  1794.  The  bride  was  the  widow  of  a French 
wine  merchant  named  Stephen  Jumel,  who  had  left  Betsy 
Jumel  a rich  woman  indeed.  It  was  a stormy  marriage,  and 
ultimately  Mrs.  Burr  sued  for  divorce.  This  was  granted  on 
the  14th  of  September  1836,  the  very  day  Aaron  Burr  died. 
Betsy  never  considered  herself  anything  but  the  widow  of 
the  onetime  Vice-President,  and  she  continued  to  sign  all 
documents  as  Eliza  B.  Burr. 

Burr  had  spent  his  last  years  in  an  apartment  at  Port 
Richmond,  Staten  Island,  overlooking  New  York  Harbor. 
His  body  was  laid  to  rest  at  Princeton,  the  president  of 

CHAPTER  FIVE:  Famous  Ghosts 


which  for  many  years  had  been  Burr's  late  father,  the  Rev- 
erend Aaron  Burr. 

I had  not  been  familiar  with  any  of  this  until  after 
the  exciting  events  of  June  1967,  when  I was  able  to  make 
contact  with  the  person  of  Aaron  Burr  through  psychic 
channels. 

My  first  encounter  with  the  name  Aaron  Burr  came 
in  December  of  1961 . I was  then  actively  investigating  var- 
ious haunted  houses  in  and  around  New  York  City  as  part 
of  a study  grant  by  the  Parapsychology  Foundation.  My 
reports  later  grew  into  a popular  book  called  Ghost  Hunter. 

One  day  a publicist  named  Richard  Mardus  called 
my  attention  to  a nightclub  on  West  Third  Street  doing 
business  as  the  Cafe  Bizarre.  Mr.  Mardus  was  and  is  an 
expert  on  Greenwich  Village  history  and  lore,  and  he 
pointed  out  to  me  that  the  club  was  actually  built  into 
remodeled  stables  that  had  once  formed  part  of  Richmond 
Hill,  Aaron  Burr’s  estate  in  New  York  City.  At  the  time  of 
Burr’s  occupancy  this  was  farmland  and  pretty  far  uptown, 
as  New  York  City  went. 

But  Mardus  did  not  call  to  give  me  historical  news 
only:  Psychic  occurrences  had  indeed  been  observed  at  the 
Burr  stables,  and  he  asked  me  to  look  into  the  matter.  I 
went  down  to  have  a look  at  the  edifice.  It  is  located  on  a 
busy  side  street  in  the  nightclub  belt  of  New  York,  where 
after  dark  the  curious  and  the  tourists  gather  to  spend  an 
evening  of  informal  fun.  In  the  daytime,  the  street  looks 
ugly  and  ordinary,  but  after  dark  it  seems  to  sparkle  with 
an  excitement  of  its  own. 

The  Cafe  Bizarre  stood  out  by  its  garish  decor  and 
posters  outside  the  entrance,  but  the  old  building  housing 
it,  three  stories  high,  was  a typical  nineteenth-century  stone 
building,  well  preserved  and  showing  no  sign  of  replace- 
ment of  the  original  materials. 

Inside,  the  place  had  been  decorated  by  a nightmarish 
array  of  paraphernalia  to  suggest  the  bizarre,  ranging  from 
store  dummy  arms  to  devil’s  masks,  and  colorful  lights 
played  on  this  melee  of  odd  objects  suspended  from  the 
high  ceiling.  In  the  rear  of  the  long  room  was  a stage,  to 
the  left  of  which  a staircase  led  up  to  the  loft;  another 
staircase  was  in  back  of  the  stage,  since  a hayloft  had  occu- 
pied the  rear  portion  of  the  building.  Sawdust  covered  the 
floor,  and  perhaps  three  dozen  assorted  tables  filled  the 
room. 

It  was  late  afternoon  and  the  atmosphere  of  the  place 
was  cold  and  empty,  but  the  feeling  was  nevertheless  that 
of  the  unusual — uncanny,  somehow.  I was  met  by  a pretty, 
dark-haired  young  woman,  who  turned  out  to  be  the 
owner’s  wife,  Mrs.  Renee  Allmen.  She  welcomed  me  to  the 
Cafe  Bizarre  and  explained  that  her  husband,  Rick,  was  not 
exactly  a believer  in  such  things  as  the  psychic,  but  that 
she  herself  had  indeed  had  unusual  experiences  here.  On 
my  request,  she  gave  me  a written  statement  testifying 
about  her  experiences. 

In  the  early  morning  of  July  27,  1961,  at  2:20  A.M., 
she  and  her  husband  were  locking  up  for  the  night.  They 


90 


walked  out  to  their  car  when  Mrs.  Allmen  remembered 
that  she  had  forgotten  a package  inside.  Rushing  back  to 
the  cafe,  she  unlocked  the  doors  again  and  entered  the 
deserted  building.  She  turned  on  the  lights  and  walked 
toward  the  kitchen,  which  is  about  a third  of  the  way 
toward  the  rear  of  the  place.  The  cafe  was  quite  empty, 
and  yet  she  had  an  eerie  sensation  of  not  being  alone.  She 
hurriedly  picked  up  her  package  and  walked  toward  the 
front  door  again.  Glancing  backward  into  the  dark  recesses 
of  the  cafe,  she  then  saw  the  apparition  of  a man,  staring  at 
her  with  piercing  black  eyes.  He  wore  an  antique  ruffled 
shirt  and  seemed  to  smile  at  her  when  she  called  out  to 
him,  "Who  is  it?” 

But  the  figure  never  moved  or  reacted. 

“What  are  you  doing  here?”  Renee  demanded,  all  the 
while  looking  at  the  apparition. 

There  was  no  answer,  and  suddenly  Renee’s  courage 
left  her.  Running  back  to  the  front  door,  she  summoned 
her  husband  from  the  car,  and  together  they  returned  to 
the  cafe.  Again  unlocking  the  door,  which  Renee  had  shut 
behind  her  when  she  fled  from  the  specter,  they  discovered 
the  place  to  be  quite  empty.  In  the  usual  husbandly  fash- 
ion, Mr.  Allmen  tried  to  pass  it  off  as  a case  of  nerves  or 
tired  eyes,  but  his  wife  would  not  buy  it.  She  knew  what 
she  had  seen,  and  it  haunted  her  for  many  years  to  come. 

Actually,  she  was  not  the  first  one  to  see  the  gentle- 
man in  the  white  ruffled  shirt  with  the  piercing  black  eyes. 
One  of  their  waiters  also  had  seen  the  ghost  and  promptly 
quit.  The  Village  was  lively  enough  without  psychic  phe- 
nomena, and  how  much  does  a ghost  tip? 

I looked  over  the  stage  and  the  area  to  the  left  near 
the  old  stairs  to  see  whether  any  reflecting  surface  might  be 
blamed  for  the  ghostly  apparition.  There  was  nothing  of 
the  sort,  nothing  to  reflect  light.  Besides,  the  lights  had 
been  off  in  the  rear  section,  and  those  in  the  front  were  far 
too  low  to  be  seen  anywhere  but  in  the  immediate  vicinity 
of  the  door. 

Under  the  circumstances  I decided  to  arrange  for  a 
visit  with  psychic  Ethel  Johnson  Meyers  to  probe  further 
into  this  case.  This  expedition  took  place  on  January  8, 

1962,  and  several  observers  from  the  press  were  also 
present. 

The  first  thing  Mrs.  Meyers  said,  while  in  trance, 
was  that  she  saw  three  people  in  the  place,  psychically 
speaking.  In  particular  she  was  impressed  with  an  older 
man  with  penetrating  dark  eyes,  who  was  the  owner.  The 
year,  she  felt,  was  1804.  In  addition,  she  described  a previ- 
ous owner  named  Samuel  Bottomslee,  and  spoke  of  some  of 
the  family  troubles  this  man  had  allegedly  had  in  his  life- 
time. She  also  mentioned  that  the  house  once  stood  back 
from  the  road,  when  the  road  passed  farther  away  than  it 
does  today.  This  I found  to  be  correct. 

“I’m  an  Englishman  and  I have  my  rights  here,”  the 
spirit  speaking  through  Mrs.  Meyers  thundered,  as  we  sat 
spellbound.  Later  I found  out  that  the  property  had 


belonged  to  an  Englishman  before  it  passed  into  Burr’s 
hands. 

The  drama  that  developed  as  the  medium  spoke  halt- 
ingly did  not  concern  Aaron  Burr,  but  the  earlier  settlers. 
Family  squabbles  involving  Samuel's  son  Alan,  and  a girl 
named  Catherine,  and  a description  of  the  building  as  a 
stable,  where  harness  was  kept,  poured  from  Ethel’s  lips. 
From  its  looks,  she  could  not  have  known  consciously  that 
this  was  once  a stable. 

The  period  covered  extended  from  1775  to  1804, 
when  another  personality  seemed  to  take  over,  identifying 
himself  as  one  John  Bottomsley.  There  was  some  talk 
about  a deed,  and  I gathered  that  all  was  not  as  it  should 
have  been.  It  seemed  that  the  place  had  been  sold,  but  that 
the  descendants  of  Samuel  Bottomslee  didn’t  acknowledge 
this  too  readily. 

Through  all  this  the  initials  A.B.  were  given  as 
prominently  connected  with  the  spot. 

I checked  out  the  facts  afterward;  Aaron  Burr’s  Rich- 
mond Hill  estate  had  included  these  stables  since  1797. 
Before  that  the  area  belonged  to  various  British  colonials. 

When  I wrote  the  account  of  this  seance  in  my  book 
Ghost  Hunter  in  1963,  I thought  I had  done  with  it.  And  I 
had,  except  for  an  occasional  glance  at  the  place  whenever  I 
passed  it,  wondering  whether  the  man  with  the  dark,  pierc- 
ing eyes  was  really  Aaron  Burr. 

Burr’s  name  came  to  my  attention  again  in  1964 
when  I investigated  the  strange  psychic  phenomena  at  the 
Morris-Jumel  Mansion  in  Washington  Heights,  where  Burr 
had  lived  during  the  final  years  of  his  life  as  the  second 
husband  of  Mme.  Betsy  Jumel.  But  the  spectral  manifesta- 
tions at  the  Revolutionary  house  turned  out  to  be  the  rest- 
less shades  of  Mme.  Jumel  herself  and  that  of  her  late  first 
husband,  accusing  his  wife  of  having  murdered  him. 

* * * 

One  day  in  January  1967  I received  a note  from  a 
young  lady  named  Alice  McDermott.  It  concerned  some 
strange  experiences  of  hers  at  the  Cafe  Bizarre — the  kind 
one  doesn’t  expect  at  even  so  oddly  decorated  a place.  Miss 
McDermott  requested  an  interview,  and  on  February  4 of 
the  same  year  I talked  to  her  in  the  presence  of  a friend. 

She  had  been  “down  to  the  Village”  for  several  years 
as  part  of  her  social  life — she  was  now  twenty — and  visited 
the  Bizarre  for  the  first  time  in  1964.  She  had  felt  strange, 
but  could  not  quite  pinpoint  her  apprehension. 

“I  had  a feeling  there  was  something  there,  but  I let  it 
pass,  thinking  it  must  be  my  imagination.  But  there  was 
something  on  the  balcony  over  the  stage  that  seemed  to 
stare  down  at  me — I mean  something  besides  the  dummy 
suspended  from  the  ceiling  as  part  of  the  decor.” 

At  the  time,  when  Alice  was  sixteen,  she  had  not  yet 
heard  of  me  or  my  books,  but  she  had  had  some  ESP  expe- 


The  Vindication  of  Aaron  Burr 


91 


riences  involving  premonitions  and  flashes  of  a psychic 
nature. 

* * * 

Alice,  an  only  child,  works  as  a secretary  in  Manhat- 
tan. Her  father  is  a barge  officer  and  her  mother  an 
accountant.  She  is  a very  pretty  blonde  with  a sharp  mind 
and  a will  of  her  own.  Persuaded  to  try  to  become  a nun, 
she  spent  three  months  in  a Long  Island  convent,  only  to 
discover  that  the  religious  life  was  not  for  her.  She  then 
returned  to  New  York  and  took  a job  as  a secretary  in  a 
large  business  firm. 

After  she  left  the  convent  she  continued  her  studies 
also,  especially  French.  She  studied  with  a teacher  in 
Washington  Square,  and  often  passed  the  Cafe  Bizarre  on 
her  way.  Whenever  she  did,  the  old  feeling  of  something 
uncanny  inside  came  back.  She  did  not  enter  the  place,  but 
walked  on  hurriedly. 

But  on  one  occasion  she  stopped,  and  something 
within  her  made  her  say,  “Whoever  you  are  in  there,  you 
must  be  lonely!”  She  did  not  enter  the  place  despite  a 
strong  feeling  that  "someone  wanted  to  say  hello  to  her” 
inside.  But  that  same  night,  she  had  a vivid  dream.  A man 
was  standing  on  the  stage,  and  she  could  see  him  clearly. 
He  was  of  medium  height,  and  wore  beige  pants  and  black 
riding  boots.  His  white  shirt  with  a kind  of  Peter  Pan  coll- 
ar fascinated  her  because  it  did  not  look  like  the  shirts 
men  wear  today.  It  had  puffy  sleeves.  The  man  also  had  a 
goatee,  that  is,  a short  beard,  and  a mustache. 

“He  didn’t  look  dressed  in  today’s  fashion,  then?” 

"Definitely  not,  unless  he  was  a new  rock  ‘n’  roll 
star.”  But  the  most  remarkable  features  of  this  man  were 
his  dark,  piercing  eyes,  she  explained.  He  just  stood  there 
with  his  hands  on  his  hips,  looking  at  Alice.  She  became 
frightened  when  the  man  kept  looking  at  her,  and  walked 
outside. 

That  was  the  end  of  this  dream  experience,  but  the 
night  before  she  spoke  to  me,  he  reappeared  in  a dream. 
This  time  she  was  speaking  with  him  in  French,  and  also 
to  a lady  who  was  with  him.  The  lady  wore  glasses,  had  a 
pointed  nose,  and  had  a shawl  wrapped  around  her — “Oh, 
and  a plain  gold  band  on  her  finger.” 

The  lady  also  wore  a Dutch  type  white  cap,  Alice 
reported.  I was  fascinated,  for  she  had  described  Betsy 
Jumel  in  her  old  age — yet  how  could  she  connect  the 
ghostly  owner  of  Jumel  Mansion  with  her  Cafe  Bizarre 
experience?  She  could  not  have  known  the  connection,  and 
yet  it  fit  perfectly.  Both  Burr  and  Betsy  Jumel  spoke 
French  fluently,  and  often  made  use  of  that  language. 

"Would  you  be  able  to  identify  her  if  I showed  you  a 
picture?”  I asked. 

"If  it  were  she,”  Alice  replied,  hesitatingly. 

I took  out  a photograph  of  a painting  hanging  at 
Jumel  Mansion,  which  shows  Mme.  Jumel  in  old  age. 


I did  not  identify  her  by  name,  merely  explaining  it 
was  a painting  of  a group  of  people  I wanted  her  to  look  at. 

“This  is  the  lady,”  Alice  said  firmly,  "but  she  is 
younger  looking  in  the  picture  than  when  I saw  her.” 

What  was  the  conversation  all  about?  I wanted  to 
know. 

Apparently  the  spirit  of  Mme.  Jumel  was  pleading 
with  her  on  behalf  of  Burr,  who  was  standing  by  and 
watching  the  scene,  to  get  in  touch  with  me!  I asked  Alice, 
who  wants  to  be  a commercial  artist,  to  draw  a picture  of 
what  she  saw.  Later,  I compared  the  portrait  with  known 
pictures  of  Aaron  Burr.  The  eyes,  eyebrows,  and  forehead 
did  indeed  resemble  the  Burr  portraits.  But  the  goatee  was 
not  known. 

After  my  initial  meeting  with  Alice  McDermott,  she 
wrote  to  me  again.  The  dreams  in  which  Burr  appeared  to 
her  were  getting  more  and  more  lively,  and  she  wanted  to 
go  on  record  with  the  information  thus  received.  According 
to  her,  Aaron  poured  his  heart  out  to  the  young  girl, 
incredible  though  this  seemed  on  the  face  of  it. 

The  gist  of  it  was  a request  to  go  to  “the  white  house 
in  the  country”  and  find  certain  papers  in  a metal  box. 
“This  will  prove  my  innocence.  I am  not  guilty  of  treason. 
There  is  written  proof.  Written  October  18,  1802  or 
1803.”  The  message  was  specific  enough,  but  the  papers  of 
course  were  long  since  gone. 

The  white  house  in  the  country  would  be  the  Jumel 
Mansion. 

I thanked  Alice  and  decided  to  hold  another  investi- 
gation at  the  site  of  the  Cafe  Bizarre,  since  the  restless 
spirit  of  the  late  Vice-President  of  the  United  States  had 
evidently  decided  to  be  heard  once  more. 

At  the  same  time  I was  approached  by  Mel  Bailey  of 
Metromedia  Television  to  produce  a documentary  about 
New  York  haunted  houses,  and  I decided  to  combine  these 
efforts  and  investigate  the  Burr  stables  in  the  full  glare  of 
television  cameras. 

On  June  12,  1967  I brought  Sybil  Leek  down  to  the 
Bizarre,  having  flown  her  in  from  California  two  days 
before.  Mrs.  Leek  had  no  way  of  knowing  what  was 
expected  of  her,  or  where  she  would  be  taken.  Neverthe- 
less, as  early  as  June  1 , when  I saw  her  in  Hollywood,  she 
had  remarked  to  me  spontaneously  that  she  “knew”  the 
place  I would  take  her  to  on  our  next  expedition — then 
only  a possibility — and  she  described  it  in  detail.  On  June 
9,  after  her  arrival  in  New  York,  she  telephoned  and  again 
gave  me  her  impressions. 

"I  sense  music  and  laughter  and  drumbeat,”  she 
began,  and  what  better  is  there  to  describe  the  atmosphere 
at  the  Cafe  Bizarre  these  nights?  “It  is  a three-story  place, 
not  a house  but  selling  something;  two  doors  opening,  go 
to  the  right-hand  side  of  the  room  and  something  is  raised 
up  from  the  floor,  where  the  drumbeat  is.” 

Entirely  correct;  the  two  doors  lead  into  the  elongated 
room,  with  the  raised  stage  at  the  end. 


CHAPTER  FIVE:  Famous  Ghosts 
92 


“Three  people. . .one  has  a shaped  beard,  aquiline 
nose,  he  is  on  the  raised  part  of  the  floor;  very  dark  around 
the  eyes,  an  elegant  man,  lean,  and  there  are  two  other 
people  near  him,  one  of  whom  has  a name  starting  with  a 
Th....” 

In  retrospect  one  must  marvel  at  the  accuracy  of  the 
description,  for  surely  Sybil  Leek  had  no  knowledge  of 
either  the  place,  its  connection  with  Burr,  nor  the  descrip- 
tion given  by  the  other  witnesses  of  the  man  they  had  seen 
there. 

This  was  a brief  description  of  her  first  impressions 
given  to  me  on  the  telephone.  The  following  day  I received 
a written  account  of  her  nocturnal  impressions  from  Mrs. 
Leek.  This  was  still  two  days  before  she  set  foot  onto  the 
premises! 

In  her  statement,  Mrs.  Leek  mentioned  that  she 
could  not  go  off  to  sleep  late  that  night,  and  fell  into  a 
state  of  semiconsciousness,  with  a small  light  burning  near 
her  bed.  Gradually  she  became  aware  of  the  smell  of  fire, 
or  rather  the  peculiar  smell  when  a gun  has  just  been  fired. 
At  the  same  time  she  felt  an  acute  pain,  as  if  she  had  been 
wounded  in  the  left  side  of  the  back. 

Trying  to  shake  off  the  impression,  Mrs.  Leek  started 
to  do  some  work  at  her  typewriter,  but  the  presence  per- 
sisted. It  seemed  to  her  as  if  a voice  was  trying  to  reach 
her,  a voice  speaking  a foreign  language  and  calling  out  a 
name,  Theo. 

I questioned  Mrs.  Leek  about  the  foreign  language 
she  heard  spoken  clairvoyantly. 

“I  had  a feeling  it  was  French,”  she  said. 

Finally  she  had  drifted  into  deeper  sleep.  But  by  Sat- 
urday afternoon  the  feeling  of  urgency  returned.  This  time 
she  felt  as  if  someone  wanted  her  to  go  down  to  the  river, 
not  the  area  where  I live  (uptown),  but  “a  long  way  the 
other  way,”  which  is  precisely  where  the  Burr  stables  were 
situated. 

* * * 

Finally  the  big  moment  had  arrived.  It  was  June  12, 
and  the  television  crews  had  been  at  work  all  morning  in 
and  around  the  Cafe  Bizarre  to  set  up  cameras  and  sound 
equipment  so  that  the  investigation  could  be  recorded 
without  either  hitch  or  interruption.  We  had  two  cameras 
taking  turns,  to  eliminate  the  need  for  reloading.  The  cen- 
tral area  beneath  the  "haunted  stage”  was  to  be  our  setting, 
and  the  place  was  reasonably  well  lit,  certainly  brighter 
than  it  normally  is  when  the  customers  are  there  at  night. 

Everything  had  been  meticulously  prepared.  My  wife 
Catherine  was  to  drive  our  white  Citroen  down  to  the 
Bizarre  with  Sybil  at  her  side.  Promptly  at  3 P.M.  the  car 
arrived,  Sybil  Leek  jumped  out  and  was  greeted  at  the 
outer  door  by  me,  while  our  director,  Art  Forrest,  gave  the 
signal  for  the  cameras  to  start.  "Welcome  to  the  Cafe 
Bizarre,”  I intoned  and  led  my  psychic  friend  into  the 
semidark  inside.  Only  the  central  section  was  brightly  lit. 


I asked  her  to  walk  about  the  place  and  gather 
impressions  at  will. 

"I’m  going  to  those  drums  over  there,”  Sybil  said 
firmly,  and  walked  toward  the  rear  stage  as  if  she  knew  the 
way. 

“Yes — this  is  the  part.  I feel  cold.  Even  though  I 
have  not  been  here  physically,  I know  this  place." 

"What  do  we  have  to  do  here,  do  you  think?”  I 
asked. 

“I  think  we  have  to  relieve  somebody,  somebody 
who’s  waited  a long  time.” 

“Where  is  this  feeling  strongest?” 

"In  the  rear,  where  this  extra  part  seems  to  be  put 

on.” 

Sybil  could  not  know  this,  but  an  addition  to  the 
building  was  made  years  after  the  original  had  been  con- 
structed, and  it  was  precisely  in  that  part  that  we  were  now 
standing. 

She  explained  that  there  was  more  than  one  person 
involved,  but  one  in  particular  was  dominant;  that  this  was 
something  from  the  past,  going  back  into  another  century. 

I then  asked  her  to  take  a chair,  and  Mrs.  Renee  Allmen 
and  my  wife  Catherine  joined  us  around  a small  table. 

This  was  going  to  be  a seance,  and  Sybil  was  in  deep 
trance  within  a matter  of  perhaps  five  minutes,  since  she 
and  I were  well  in  tune  with  one  another,  and  it  required 
merely  a signal  on  my  part  to  allow  her  to  "slip  out.” 

At  first  there  was  a tossing  of  the  head,  the  way  a 
person  moves  when  sleep  is  fitful. 

Gradually,  the  face  changed  its  expression  to  that  of  a 
man,  a stern  face,  perhaps  even  a suspicious  face.  The  hiss- 
ing sound  emanating  from  her  tightly  closed  lips  gradually 
changed  into  something  almost  audible,  but  I still  could 
not  make  it  out. 

Patiently,  as  the  cameras  ground  away  precious  color 
film,  I asked  “whoever  it  might  be”  to  speak  louder  and  to 
communicate  through  the  instrument  of  Mrs.  Leek. 

"Theo!”  the  voice  said  now.  It  wasn’t  at  all  like  Sybil’s 
own  voice. 

“Theo. . .I’m  lost. . .where  am  I?”  I explained  that  this 
was  the  body  of  another  person  and  that  we  were  in  a house 
in  New  York  City. 

"Where’s  Theo?”  the  voice  demanded  with  greater 
urgency.  "Who  are  you?” 

I explained  my  role  as  a friend,  hoping  to  establish 
contact  through  the  psychic  services  of  Mrs.  Leek,  then  in 
turn  asked  who  the  communicator  was.  Since  he  had  called 
out  for  Theo,  he  was  not  Theo,  as  I had  first  thought. 

“Bertram  Delmar.  I want  Theo,”  came  the  reply. 

"Why  do  you  want  Theo?” 

“Lost.” 

Despite  extensive  research  I was  not  able  to  prove 
that  Bertram  Delmar  ever  existed  or  that  this  was  one  of 
the  cover  names  used  by  Aaron  Burr;  but  it  is  possible  that 

The  Vindication  of  Aaron  Burr 


93 


The  Cafe  Bizarre — once  Aaron  Burr’s  stables 


he  did,  for  Burr  was  given  to  the  use  of  code  names  during 
his  political  career  and  in  sensitive  correspondence. 

What  was  far  more  important  was  the  immediate  call 
for  Theo,  and  the  statement  that  she  was  "lost.”  Theodosia 
Burr  was  Burr’s  only  daughter  and  truly  the  apple  of  his 
eye.  When  she  was  lost  at  sea  on  her  way  to  join  him,  in 
1813,  he  became  a broken  man.  Nothing  in  the  up-and- 
down  life  of  the  American  Phoenix  was  as  hard  a blow  of 
fate  than  the  loss  of  his  beloved  Theo. 

The  form  “Theo,”  incidentally,  rather  than  the  full 
name  Theodosia,  is  attested  to  by  the  private  correspon- 
dence between  Theodosia  and  her  husband,  Joseph  Alston, 
governor  of  South  Carolina.  In  a rare  moment  of  forebod- 
ing, she  had  hinted  that  she  might  soon  die.  This  letter 
was  written  six  months  before  her  disappearance  in  a storm 
at  sea  and  was  signed,  “Your  wife,  your  fond  wife,  Theo.” 

After  the  seance,  I asked  Dr.  Samuel  Engle  Burr 
whether  there  was  any  chance  that  the  name  Theo  might 
apply  to  some  other  woman. 

Dr.  Burr  pointed  out  that  the  Christian  name  Theo- 
dosia occurred  in  modern  times  only  in  the  Burr  family.  It 
was  derived  from  Theodosius  Bartow,  father  of  Aaron 


Burr's  first  wife,  who  was  mother  of  the  girl  lost  at  sea. 

The  mother  had  been  Theodosia  the  elder,  after  her  father, 
and  the  Burrs  had  given  their  only  daughter  the  same 
unusual  name. 

After  her  mother’s  passing  in  1794,  the  daughter 
became  her  father’s  official  hostess  and  truly  "the  woman 
in  the  house.”  More  than  that,  she  was  his  confidante  and 
shared  his  thoughts  a great  deal  more  than  many  other 
daughters  might  have.  Even  after  her  marriage  to  Alston 
and  subsequent  move  to  South  Carolina,  they  kept  in 
touch,  and  her  family  was  really  all  the  family  he  had. 

Thus  their  relationship  was  a truly  close  one,  and  it  is  not 
surprising  that  the  first  thought,  after  his  "return  from  the 
dead,”  so  to  speak,  would  be  to  cry  out  for  his  Theo! 

I wasn’t  satisfied  with  his  identification  as  “Bertram 
Delmar,”  and  insisted  on  his  real  name.  But  the  communi- 
cator brushed  my  request  aside  and  instead  spoke  of 
another  matter. 

“Where’s  the  gun?” 

“What  gun?” 

I recalled  Sybil’s  remark  about  the  smell  of  a gun 
having  just  been  fired.  I had  to  know  more. 

"What  are  you  doing  here?” 

"Hiding.” 

“What  are  you  hiding  from?” 

“You.” 

Was  he  mistaking  me  for  someone  else? 

“I’m  a friend,”  I tried  to  explain,  but  the  voice  inter- 
rupted me  harshly. 

“You’re  a soldier.” 

In  retrospect  one  cannot  help  feeling  that  the  emo- 
tionally disturbed  personality  was  reliving  the  agony  of 
being  hunted  down  by  U.S.  soldiers  prior  to  his  arrest, 
confusing  it,  perhaps,  in  his  mind  with  still  another 
unpleasant  episode  when  he  was  being  hunted,  namely, 
after  he  had  shot  Hamilton! 

I decided  to  pry  farther  into  his  personal  life  in  order 
to  establish  identity  more  firmly. 

“Who  is  Theo?  What  is  she  to  you?” 

“I  have  to  find  her,  take  her  away. . .it  is  dangerous, 
the  French  are  looking  for  me.” 

“Why  would  the  French  be  looking  for  you?”  I asked 
in  genuine  astonishment.  Neither  I nor  Mrs.  Leek  had  any 
notion  of  this  French  connection  at  that  time. 

"Soldiers  watch....” 

Through  later  research  I learned  that  Burr  had  indeed 
been  in  France  for  several  years,  from  1808  to  1812.  At 
first,  his  desire  to  have  the  Spanish  American  colonies  freed 
met  with  approval  by  the  then  still  revolutionary  Bonaparte 
government.  But  when  Napoleon’s  brother  Joseph 
Napoleon  was  installed  as  King  of  Spain,  and  thus  also 
ruler  of  the  overseas  territories,  the  matter  became  a politi- 
cal horse  of  another  color;  now  Burr  was  advocating  the 
overthrow  of  a French-owned  government,  and  that  could 
no  longer  be  permitted. 


CHAPTER  FIVE:  Famous  Ghosts 
94 


Under  the  circumstances,  Burr  saw  no  point  in  stay- 
ing in  France,  and  made  arrangements  to  go  back  to  New 
York.  But  he  soon  discovered  that  the  French  government 
wouldn’t  let  him  go  so  easily.  “All  sorts  of  technical  diffi- 
culties were  put  in  his  way,”  writes  Dr.  Samuel  Engle  Burr, 
“both  the  French  and  the  American  officials  were  in  agree- 
ment to  the  effect  that  the  best  place  for  the  former  Vice- 
President  was  within  the  Empire  of  France.”  Eventually,  a 
friendly  nobleman  very  close  to  Napoleon  himself  managed 
to  get  Burr  out.  But  it  is  clear  that  Burr  was  under  surveil- 
lance all  that  time  and  probably  well  aware  of  it! 

I continued  my  questioning  of  the  entity  speaking 
through  an  entranced  Sybil  Leek,  the  entity  who  had  glibly 
claimed  to  be  a certain  Bertram  Delmar,  but  who  knew  so 
many  things  only  Aaron  Burr  would  have  known. 

What  year  was  this,  I asked. 

“Eighteen  ten.” 

In  1810,  Burr  had  just  reached  France.  The  date  fit 
in  well  with  the  narrative  of  soldiers  watching  him. 

“Why  are  you  frightened?”  I asked. 

“The  soldiers,  the  soldiers. ...” 

“Have  you  done  anything  wrong?” 

“Who  are  you?” 

"I’m  a friend,  sent  to  help  you!” 

"Traitor!  You. . .you  betrayed  me. . . .” 

"Tell  me  what  you  are  doing,  what  are  you  trying  to 
establish  here?” 

“Traitor!” 

Later,  as  I delved  into  Burr’s  history  in  detail,  I 
thought  that  this  exchange  between  an  angry  spirit  and  a 
cool  interrogator  might  refer  to  Burr’s  anger  at  General 
James  Wilkinson,  who  had  indeed  posed  as  a friend  and 
then  betrayed  Burr.  Not  the  "friend”  ostensibly  helping 
Burr  set  up  his  western  colony,  but  the  traitor  who  later 
caused  soldiers  to  be  sent  to  arrest  him.  It  certainly  fit  the 
situation.  One  must  understand  that  in  the  confused  men- 
tal state  a newly  contacted  spirit  personality  often  finds 
himself,  events  in  his  life  take  on  a jumbled  and  fragmen- 
tary quality,  often  flashing  on  the  inner  mental  screen  like 
so  many  disconnected  images  from  the  emotional  reel  of 
his  life.  It  is  then  the  job  of  the  psychic  researcher  to  sort 
it  all  out. 

* * * 

I asked  the  communicator  to  “tell  me  all  about  him- 
self” in  the  hope  of  finding  some  other  wedge  to  get  him  to 
admit  he  was  Aaron  Burr. 

“I  escaped. . .from  the  French.” 

“Where  are  the  French?” 

“Here.” 

This  particular  “scene”  was  apparently  being  re- 
enacted in  his  mind,  during  the  period  he  lived  in  France. 

“Did  you  escape  from  any  particular  French  person?” 
I asked. 

“Jacques. . ,de  la  Beau. ...” 


The  spelling  is  mine.  It  might  have  been  different, 
but  it  sounded  like  “de  la  Beau.” 

“Who  is  Jacques  de  la  Beau?” 

Clenched  teeth,  hissing  voice — "I’m. . .not. . .telling 
you.  Even... if  you.,  .kill  me.” 

I explained  I had  come  to  free  him,  and  what  could  I 
do  for  him? 

"Take Theo  away. . .leave  me. . .1  shall  die. ...” 

Again  I questioned  him  about  his  identity.  Now  he 
switched  his  account  and  insisted  he  was  French,  bom  at  a 
place  called  Dasney  near  Bordeaux.  Even  while  this  infor- 
mation was  coming  from  the  medium’s  lips,  I felt  sure  it 
was  a way  to  throw  me  off  his  real  identity.  This  is  not 
unusual  in  some  cases.  When  I investigated  the  ghost  of 
General  Samuel  Edward  McGowan  some  years  ago,  it  took 
several  weeks  of  trance  sessions  until  he  abandoned  an 
assumed  name  and  admitted  an  identity  that  could  later  be 
proven.  Even  the  discarnates  have  their  pride  and  emo- 
tional “hangups.” 

The  name  Jacques  de  la  Beau  puzzled  me.  After  the 
seance,  I looked  into  the  matter  and  discovered  that  a cer- 
tain Jacques  Prevost  (pronounced  pre-voh)  had  been  first 
husband  of  Aaron  Burr’s  first  wife,  Theodosia.  Burr,  in 
fact,  raised  their  two  sons  as  his  own,  and  there  was  a close 
link  between  them  and  Burr  in  later  years.  But  despite  his 
French  name,  Prevost  was  in  the  British  service. 

* * * 

When  Burr  lived  in  New  York,  he  had  opened  his 
home  to  the  daughter  of  a French  admiral,  from  whom  she 
had  become  separated  as  a consequence  of  the  French  Rev- 
olution. This  girl,  Natalie,  became  the  close  companion  of 
Burr’s  daughter  Theodosia,  and  the  two  girls  considered 
themselves  sisters.  Natalie’s  father  was  Admiral  de  Lage  de 
Volade.  This  name,  too,  has  sounds  similar  to  the  “de  la 
Beau”  I thought  I had  understood.  It  might  have  been  “de 
la  voh”  or  anything  in  between  the  two  sounds.  Could  the 
confused  mind  of  the  communicator  have  drawn  from  both 
Prevost  and  de  Lage  de  Volade?  Both  names  were  of 
importance  in  Burr’s  life. 

“Tell  me  about  your  wife,”  I demanded  now. 

“No.  I don’t  like  her.” 

I insisted,  and  he,  equally  stubborn,  refused. 

“Is  she  with  you?”  I finally  said. 

“Got  rid  of  her,”  he  said,  almost  with  joy  in  the 
voice. 

“Why?” 

“No  good  to  me. . .deceived  me. . .married. ...” 

There  was  real  disdain  and  anger  in  the  voice  now. 

Clearly,  the  communicator  was  speaking  of  the  sec- 
ond Mrs.  Burr.  The  first  wife  had  passed  away  a long  time 
before  the  major  events  in  his  life  occurred.  It  is  perfectly 
true  that  Burr  “got  rid  of  her”  (through  two  separations 
and  one  divorce  action),  and  that  she  "deceived  him,”  or 

The  Vindication  of  Aaron  Burr 


95 


rather  tricked  him  into  marrying  her:  He  thought  she  was 
wealthier  than  she  actually  was,  and  their  main  difficulties 
were  about  money.  In  those  days  people  did  not  always 
marry  for  love,  and  it  was  considered  less  immoral  to  have 
married  someone  for  money  than  to  deceive  someone  into 
marrying  by  the  prospects  of  large  holdings  when  they 
were  in  fact  small.  Perhaps  today  we  think  differently  and 
even  more  romantically  about  such  matters;  in  the  1830s,  a 
woman’s  financial  standing  was  as  negotiable  as  a bank 
account. 

* * * 

The  more  I probed,  the  more  excited  the  communi- 
cator became;  the  more  I insisted  on  identification,  the 
more  cries  of  “Theo!  Theo!”  came  from  the  lips  of  Sybil 
Leek. 

When  I had  first  broached  the  subject  of  Theo ’s  rela- 
tionship to  him,  he  had  quickly  said  she  was  his  sister.  I 
brought  this  up  again,  and  in  sobbing  tones  he  admitted 
this  was  not  true.  But  he  was  not  yet  ready  to  give  me  the 
full  story. 

“Let  me  go,”  he  sobbed. 

“Not  until  you  can  go  in  peace,”  I insisted.  "Tell  me 
about  yourself.  You  are  proud  of  yourself,  are  you  not?” 

"Yes,”  the  voice  came  amid  heavy  sobbing,  “the  dis- 
grace. . .the  disgrace. ...” 

"I  will  tell  the  world  what  you  want  me  to  say.  I’m 
here  as  your  spokesman.  Use  this  chance  to  tell  the  world 
your  side  of  the  facts!” 

There  was  a moment  of  hesitation,  then  the  voice, 
gentler  started  up  again. 

"I. ..loved.. .Theo. ...  I have  to.. .find  her. ...” 

The  most  important  thought,  evidently,  was  the  loss 
of  his  girl.  Even  his  political  ambitions  took  a back  seat  to 
his  paternal  love. 

“Is  this  place  we’re  in  part  of  your  property?” 

Forlornly,  the  voice  said, 

“I  had. . .a  lot. . .from  the  river. . .to  here.” 

Later  I checked  this  statement  with  Mrs.  Leroy 
Campbell,  curator  of  the  Morris-Jumel  mansion,  and  a 
professional  historian  who  knew  the  period  well. 

“Yes,  this  is  true,”  Mrs.  Campbell  confirmed,  “Burr’s 
property  extended  from  the  river  and  Varick  Street  east- 
ward.” 

“But  the  lot  from  the  river  to  here  does  not  belong  to 
a Bertram  Delmar,”  I said  to  the  communicator.  “Why  do 
you  wish  to  fool  me  with  names  that  do  not  exist?” 

I launched  this  as  a trial  balloon.  It  took  off. 

"She  calls  me  Bertram,”  the  communicator  admitted 
now.  "I’m  not  ashamed  of  my  name.” 

I nodded.  “I’m  here  to  help  you  right  old  wrongs, 
but  you  must  help  me  do  this.  I can’t  do  it  alone.” 

I didn  t kill. . .got  rid  of  her ” he  added,  appar- 

ently willing  to  talk. 

CHAPTER  FIVE:  Famous  Ghosts 
96 


“You  mean,  your  wife?” 

“Had  to.” 

"Did  you  kill  anyone ?”  I continued  the  line  of 
discussion. 

“Killed. . .to  protect.  ..not  wrong!” 

“How  did  you  kill?” 

"A  rifle. ...” 

Was  he  perhaps  referring  to  his  service  in  the  Revo- 
lutionary War?  He  certainly  did  some  shooting  then. 

But  I decided  to  return  to  the  “Bertram  Delmar” 
business  once  more.  Constant  pressure  might  yield  results. 

“Truthfully,  will  you  tell  us  who  you  are?” 

Deliberately,  almost  as  if  he  were  reading  an  official 
communique,  the  voice  replied,  “lam  Bertram  Delmar  and 
I shall  not  say  that  name . . . . ” 

“You  must  say  ‘that  name’  if  you  wish  to  see  Theo 
again.  I had  put  it  on  the  line.  Either  cooperate  with  me, 
or  I won  t help  you.  Sometimes  this  is  the  only  way  you 
can  get  a recalcitrant  spirit  to  “come  across” — when  this 
cooperation  is  essential  both  to  his  welfare  and  liberation 
and  to  the  kind  of  objective  proof  required  in  science. 

There  was  a moment  of  ominous  quiet.  Then,  almost 
inaudibly,  the  communicator  spoke. 

“An  awful  name...  Arnot.” 

After  the  investigation  I played  the  sound  tapes  back 
to  make  sure  of  what  I had  heard  so  faintly.  It  was  quite 
clear.  The  communicator  had  said  “Arnot." 

My  first  reaction  was,  perhaps  he  is  trying  to  say 
Aaron  Burr  and  pronounce  Aaron  with  a broad  ah.  But  on 
checking  this  out  with  both  Mrs.  Campbell  and  Dr.  Burr  I 
found  that  such  a pronunciation  was  quite  impossible.  The 
night  after  the  seance  I telephoned  Dr.  Burr  at  his  Wash- 
ington home  and  read  the  salient  points  of  the  transcript  to 
him. 

When  I came  to  the  puzzling  name  given  by  the 
communicator  I asked  whether  Arnot  meant  anything, 
inasmuch  as  I could  not  find  it  in  the  published  biogra- 
phies of  Burr.  There  was  a moment  of  silence  on  the  other 
end  of  the  line  before  Dr.  Burr  spoke. 

‘Quite  so,”  he  began.  “It  is  not  really  generally 
known,  but  Burr  did  use  a French  cover  name  while 
returning  from  France  to  the  United  States,  in  order  to 
avoid  publicity.  That  name  was  Arnot." 

But  back  to  the  Cafe  Bizarre  and  our  investigation. 

Having  not  yet  realized  the  importance  of  the  word 
Arnot,  I continued  to  insist  on  proper  identification. 

“You  must  cleanse  yourself  of  ancient  guilt,”  I 
prodded. 

“It  is  awful... awful....” 

“Is  Theo  related  to  you?” 

“She’s  mine.” 

“Are  you  related  to  her?” 

“Lovely. . .little  one. ..daughter." 

Finally,  the  true  relationship  had  come  to  light. 

“If  Theo  is  your  daughter,  then  you  are  not 
‘Bertram. 


“You  tricked  me. . .go  away . . .or  else  I’ll  kill  you!” 

The  voice  sounded  full  of  anger  again. 

“If  you’re  not  ashamed  of  your  name,  then  I want  to 
hear  it  from  your  lips.” 

Again,  hesitatingly,  the  voice  said, 

“Arnot.” 

“Many  years  have  gone  by.  Do  you  know  what  year 
we’re  in  now?” 

“Ten....” 

“It  is  not  1810.  A hundred  fifty  years  have  gone  by.” 

"You’re  mad.” 

“You’re  using  the  body  of  a psychic  to  speak  to 
us....” 

The  communicator  had  no  use  for  such  outrageous 
claims. 

“I’m  not  going  to  listen....” 

But  I made  him  listen.  I told  him  to  touch  the  hair, 
face,  ears  of  the  “body”  he  was  using  as  a channel  and  to 
see  if  it  didn’t  feel  strange  indeed. 

Step  by  step,  the  figure  of  Sybil,  very  tensed  and 
angry  a moment  before,  relaxed.  When  the  hand  found  its 
way  to  the  chin,  there  was  a moment  of  startled  expression: 

“No  beard. . ..” 

I later  found  that  not  a single  one  of  the  contempo- 
rary portraits  of  Aaron  Burr  shows  him  with  a chin  beard. 
Nevertheless,  Alice  McDermott  had  seen  and  drawn  him 
with  a goatee,  and  now  Sybil  Leek,  under  the  control  of  the 
alleged  Burr,  also  felt  for  the  beard  that  was  not  there  any 
longer. 

Was  there  ever  a beard? 

“Yes,”  Dr.  Burr  confirmed,  “there  was,  although  this, 
too,  is  almost  unknown  except  of  course  to  specialists  like 
myself.  On  his  return  from  France,  in  1812,  Burr  sported  a 
goatee  in  the  French  manner.” 

* * * 

By  now  I had  finally  gotten  through  to  the  person 
speaking  through  Sybil  Leek,  that  the  year  was  1967  and 
not  1810. 

His  resistance  to  me  crumbled. 

“You’re  a strange  person,”  he  said,  “I’m  tired.” 

“Why  do  you  hide  behind  a fictitious  name?” 

“People. . .ask. . .too  many . . .questions.” 

“Will  you  help  me  clear  your  name,  not  Bertram,  but 
your  real  name?” 

“I  was  betrayed.” 

“Who  is  the  President  of  the  United  States  in  1810?” 

I asked  and  regretted  it  immediately.  Obviously  this  could 
not  be  an  evidential  answer.  But  the  communicator 
wouldn’t  mention  the  hated  name  of  the  rival. 

“And  who  is  Vice-President?”  I asked. 

“Politics. . are  bad... they  kill  you... I would  not 
betray  anyone. ...  I was  wronged. . .politics. . .are  bad. ...” 

How  true! 

“Did  you  ever  kill  anyone?”  I demanded. 


“Not  wrong.  ..to  kill  to.  ..preserve.. ..  I’m  alone.” 

He  hesitated  to  continue. 

“What  did  you  preserve?  Why  did  you  have  to  kill 
another  person?” 

"Another. . .critical..  .I’m  not  talking!” 

“You  must  talk.  It  is  necessary  for  posterity.” 

“I  tried. . .to  be. . .the  best....  I’m  not  a traitor.. .sol- 
diers. . .beat  the  drum. . .then  you  die. . .politics!!” 

As  I later  listened  to  this  statement  again  and  again,  I 
understood  the  significance  of  it,  coming,  as  it  did,  from  a 
person  who  had  not  yet  admitted  he  was  Aaron  Burr  and 
through  a medium  who  didn’t  even  know  where  she  was  at 
the  time. 

* * * 

He  killed  to  preserve  his  honor — the  accusations  made 
against  him  in  the  campaign  of  1804  for  the  governorship 
of  New  York  were  such  that  they  could  not  be  left  unchal- 
lenged. Another  was  indeed  critical  of  him,  Alexander 
Hamilton  being  that  person,  and  the  criticisms  such  that 
Burr  could  not  let  them  pass. 

He  “tried  to  the  best”  also — tried  to  be  President  of 
the  United  States,  got  the  required  number  of  electoral 
votes  in  1800,  but  deferred  to  Jefferson,  who  also  had  the 
same  number. 

No,  he  was  not  a traitor,  despite  continued  inference 
in  some  history  books  that  he  was.  The  treason  trial  of 
1807  not  only  exonerated  the  former  Vice-President  of  any 
wrongdoing,  but  heaped  scorn  and  condemnation  on  those 
who  had  tried  him.  The  soldiers  beating  the  drum  prior  to 
an  execution  could  have  become  reality  if  Burr’s  enemies 
had  won;  the  treason  incident  under  which  he  was  seized 
by  soldiers  on  his  return  from  the  West  included  the  death 
penalty  if  found  guilty.  That  was  the  intent  of  his  political 
enemies,  to  have  this  ambitious  man  removed  forever  from 
the  political  scene. 

“Will  you  tell  the  world  that  you  are  not  guilty?”  I 
asked. 

“I  told  them. . .trial. . .1  am  not  a traitor,  a mur- 
derer. . 

I felt  it  important  for  him  to  free  himself  of  such 
thoughts  if  he  were  to  be  released  from  his  earthbound 
status. 

“I..  .want  to  die. the  voice  said,  breathing 
heavily. 

“Come,  I will  help  you  find  Theo,"  I said,  as 
promised. 

But  there  was  still  the  matter  of  the  name.  I felt  it 
would  help  “clear  the  atmosphere”  if  I could  get  him  to 
admit  he  was  Burr. 

I had  already  gotten  a great  deal  of  material,  and  the 
seance  would  be  over  in  a matter  of  moments.  I decided  to 
gamble  on  the  last  minute  or  two  and  try  to  shock  this 


The  Vindication  of  Aaron  Burr 


97 


entity  into  either  admitting  he  was  Burr  or  reacting  to  the 
name  in  some  telling  fashion. 

I had  failed  in  having  him  speak  those  words  even 
though  he  had  given  us  many  incidents  from  the  life  of 
Aaron  Burr.  There  was  only  one  more  way  and  I took  it. 
“Tell  the  truth,”  I said,  “are  you  Aaron  Burr?” 

It  was  as  if  I had  stuck  a red  hot  poker  into  his  face. 
The  medium  reeled  back,  almost  upsetting  the  chair  in 
which  she  sat.  With  a roar  like  a wounded  lion,  the  voice 
came  back  at  me, 

“Go  away. . .GO  AWAY!! . . .or  I’ll  kill  you!” 

You  will  not  kill  me,”  I replied  calmly.  "You  will 
tell  me  the  truth.” 

"I  will  kill  you  to  preserve  my  honor!!” 

“I’m  here  to  preserve  your  honor.  I’m  your  friend.” 

The  voice  was  like  cutting  ice. 

"You  said  that  once  before.” 

"You  are  Aaron  Burr,  and  this  is  part  of  your  place.” 
“I’m  Bertram!” 

I did  not  wish  to  continue  the  shouting  match. 

“Very  well,”  I said,  “for  the  world,  then,  let  it  be 
Bertram,  if  you’re  not  ready  to  face  it  that  you’re  Burr.” 

I m Bertram. . . ” the  entity  whispered  now. 

Then  go  from  this  place  and  join  your  Theo.  Be 
Bertram  for  her.” 

Bertram. . .you  won’t  tell?”  The  voice  was  pleading. 

Very  well.”  He  would  soon  slip  across  the  veil,  I 
felt,  and  there  were  a couple  of  points  I wanted  to  clear  up 
first.  I explained  that  he  would  soon  be  together  with  his 
daughter,  leaving  here  after  all  this  time,  and  I told  him 
again  how  much  time  had  elapsed  since  his  death. 

I tarried. . .1  tarried. . . ” he  said,  pensively. 

“What  sort  of  a place  did  you  have?”  I asked. 

It  was  a big  place. . .with  a big  desk. . .famous 
house. ...”  But  he  could  not  recall  its  name. 

Afterward,  I checked  the  statement  with  Mrs.  Camp- 
bell, the  curator  at  the  Morris-Jumel  mansion.  "That  desk 
in  the  big  house,”  she  explained,”  is  right  here  in  our  Burr 
room.  It  was  originally  in  his  law  office.”  But  the  restless 
one  was  no  longer  interested  in  talking  to  me. 

I m talking  to  Theo. . .”  he  said,  quietly  now,  "in 
the  garden. ...  I’m  going  for  a walk  with  Theo. . .go 
away.” 

Within  a moment,  the  personality  who  had  spoken 
through  Sybil  Leek  for  the  past  hour  was  gone.  Instead, 
Mrs.  Leek  returned  to  her  own  self,  remembering 
absolutely  nothing  that  had  come  through  her  entranced 
lips. 

Lights  are  bright,”  was  the  first  thing  she  said,  and 
she  quickly  closed  her  eyes  again. 

But  a moment  later,  she  awoke  fully  and  complained 
only  that  she  felt  a bit  tired. 

I wasn’t  at  all  surprised  that  she  did. 


CHAPTER  FIVE:  Famous  Ghosts 
98 


* * * 

Almost  immediately  after  I had  returned  home,  I 
started  my  corroboration.  After  discussing  the  most  impor- 
tant points  with  Dr.  Samuel  Engle  Burr  over  the  telephone, 
I arranged  to  have  a full  transcript  of  the  seance  sent  to 
him  for  his  comments. 

So  many  things  matched  the  Burr  personality  that 
there  could  hardly  be  any  doubt  that  it  was  Burr  we  had 
contacted.  “I’m  not  a traitor  and  a murderer,”  the  ghostly 
communicator  had  shouted.  “Traitor  and  murderer”  were 
the  epithets  thrown  at  Burr  in  his  own  lifetime  by  his  ene- 
mies, according  to  Professor  Burr,  as  quoted  by  Larry 
Chamblin  in  the  Allentown  Call-Chronicle. 

Although  he  is  not  a direct  descendant  of  Aaron 
Burr,  the  Washington  educator  is  related  to  Theodosia 
Barstow  Burr,  the  Vice-President’s  first  wife.  A much- 
decorated officer  in  both  world  wars,  Professor  Burr  is  a 
recognized  educator  and  the  definitive  authority  on  his 
famous  namesake.  In  consulting  him,  I was  getting  the  best 
possible  information. 

Aaron  Burr’s  interest  in  Mexico,  Professor  Burr 
explained,  was  that  of  a liberator  from  Spanish  rule,  but 
there  never  was  any  conspiracy  against  the  United  States 
government.  “That  charge  stemmed  from  a minor  incident 
on  an  island  in  Ohio.  A laborer  among  his  colonists 
pointed  a rifle  at  a government  man  who  had  come  to 
investigate  the  expedition.” 

Suddenly,  the  words  about  the  rifle  and  the  concern 
the  communicator  had  shown  about  it  became  clear  to  me: 

It  had  led  to  more  serious  trouble  for  Burr. 

Even  President  Wilson  concurred  with  those  who  felt 
Aaron  Burr  had  been  given  a "raw  deal”  by  historical  tra- 
dition. Many  years  ago  he  stood  at  Burr’s  grave  in  Prince- 
ton and  remarked,  “How  misunderstood. . .how  maligned!” 

It  is  now  132  years  since  Burr’s  burial,  and  the  false- 
hoods concerning  Aaron  Burr  are  still  about  the  land, 
despite  the  two  excellent  books  by  Dr.  Samuel  Engle  Burr 
and  the  discreet  but  valiant  efforts  of  the  Aaron  Burr  Asso- 
ciation, which  the  Washington  professor  heads. 

In  piecing  together  the  many  evidential  bits  and 
pieces  of  the  trance  session,  it  was  clear  to  me  that  Aaron 
Burr  had  at  last  said  his  piece.  Why  had  he  not  pro- 
nounced a name  he  had  been  justly  proud  of  in  his  life- 
time? He  had  not  hesitated  to  call  repeatedly  for  Theo, 
identify  her  as  his  daughter,  speak  of  his  troubles  in  France 
and  of  his  political  career — why  this  insistence  to  remain 
the  fictitious  Bertram  Delmar  in  the  face  of  so  much  proof 
that  he  was  indeed  Aaron  Burr? 

All  the  later  years  of  his  life,  Burr  had  encountered 
hostility,  and  he  had  learned  to  be  careful  whom  he  chose 
as  friends,  whom  he  could  trust.  Gradually,  this  bitterness 
became  so  strong  that  in  his  declining  years  he  felt  himself 
to  be  a lonely,  abandoned  old  man,  his  only  daughter  gone 
forever,  and  no  one  to  help  him  carry  the  heavy  burden  of 
his  life.  Passing  across  into  the  nonphysical  side  of  life  in 


such  a state  of  mind,  and  retaining  it  by  that  strange  quirk 
of  fate  that  makes  some  men  into  ghostly  images  of  their 
former  selves,  he  would  not  abandon  that  one  remaining 
line  of  defense  against  his  fellow  men:  his  anonymity. 

Why  should  he  confide  in  me,  a total  stranger,  whom 
he  had  never  met  before,  a man,  moreover,  who  spoke  to 
him  under  highly  unusual  conditions,  conditions  he  himself 
neither  understood  nor  accepted?  It  seemed  almost  natural 
for  Burr’s  surviving  personality  to  be  cautious  in  admitting 
his  identity. 

But  this  ardent  desire  to  find  Theo  was  stronger  than 
his  caution;  we  therefore  were  able  to  converse  more  or  less 
freely  about  this  part  of  his  life.  And  so  long  as  he  needed 
not  say  he  was  Burr,  he  felt  it  safe  to  speak  of  his  career 
also,  especially  when  my  questions  drove  him  to  anger,  and 
thus  lessened  his  critical  judgment  as  to  what  he  could  say 
and  what  he  should  withhold  from  me. 

Ghosts  are  people,  too,  and  they  are  subject  to  the 
same  emotional  limitations  and  rules  that  govern  us  all. 

Mrs.  Leek  had  no  way  of  obtaining  the  private,  spe- 
cific knowledge  and  information  that  had  come  from  her 
entranced  lips  in  this  investigation;  I myself  had  almost 


none  of  it  until  after  the  seance  had  ended,  and  thus  could 
not  have  furnished  her  any  of  the  material  from  my  own 
unconscious  mind.  And  the  others  present  during  the 
seance — my  wife,  Mrs.  Allmen,  and  the  television  people 
— knew  even  less  about  all  this. 

Neither  Dr.  Burr  nor  Mrs.  Campbell  were  present  at 
the  Cafe  Bizarre,  and  their  minds,  if  they  contained  any  of 
the  Burr  information,  could  not  have  been  tapped  by  the 
medium  either,  if  such  were  indeed  possible. 

Coincidence  cannot  be  held  to  account  for  such  rare 
pieces  of  information  as  Burr’s  cover  name  Arnot,  the  date, 
the  goatee,  and  the  very  specific  character  of  the  one  speak- 
ing through  Mrs.  Leek,  and  his  concern  for  the  clearing  of 
his  name  from  the  charges  of  treason  and  murder. 

That  we  had  indeed  contacted  the  restless  and  unfree 
spirit  of  Aaron  Burr  at  what  used  to  be  his  stables,  now  the 
only  physical  building  still  extant  that  was  truly  his  own,  I 
do  not  doubt  in  the  least. 

The  defense  rests,  and  hopefully,  so  does  a happier 
Aaron  Burr,  now  forever  reunited  with  his  beloved  daugh- 
ter Theodosia. 


* 9 

Assassination  of  a President: 
Lincoln,  Booth,  and  the 
Traitors  Within 

FIVE  YEARS  AFTER  the  assassination  of  President  John  F. 
Kennedy  we  are  still  not  sure  of  his  murderer  or  murder- 
ers, even  though  the  deed  was  done  in  the  cold  glare  of  a 
public  parade,  under  the  watchful  eyes  of  numerous  police 
and  security  guards,  not  to  mention  admirers  in  the  streets. 

While  we  are  still  arguing  the  merits  of  various  theo- 
ries concerning  President  Kennedy’s  assassination,  we 
sometimes  forget  that  an  earlier  crime  of  a similar  nature  is 
equally  unresolved.  In  fact,  there  are  so  many  startling  par- 
allels between  the  two  events  that  one  cannot  help  but 
marvel. 

One  of  the  people  who  marveled  at  them  in  a particu- 
larly impressive  way  recently  is  a New  York  psychiatrist 
named  Stanley  Krippner,  attached  to  Maimonides  Medical 
Center,  Brooklyn,  who  has  set  down  his  findings  in  the 
learned  Journal  of  Parapsychology.  Among  the  facts 
unearthed  by  Dr.  Krippner  is  the  remarkable  "death  circle” 
of  presidential  deaths:  Harrison,  elected  in  1840,  died  in 
1841;  Lincoln,  elected  twenty  years  later,  in  1860,  died  in 
1865;  Garfield,  elected  in  1880,  was  assassinated  in  1881; 
McKinley,  elected  in  1900,  died  by  a murderer’s  hand  in 
1901 ; Harding,  elected  just  twenty  years  after  him,  died  in 
office  in  1923;  Roosevelt,  re-elected  in  1940,  did  likewise  in 
1945;  and  finally,  Kennedy,  elected  to  office  in  1960,  was 


murdered  in  1963.  Since  1840,  every  President  voted  into 
office  in  a year  ending  with  a zero  has  died  or  been  injured 
in  office. 

Dr.  Krippner  speculates  that  this  cycle  is  so  far  out  of 
the  realm  of  coincidence  that  some  other  reason  must  be 
found.  Applying  the  principle  of  synchronicity  or  meaning- 
ful coincidence  established  first  by  the  late  Professor  Carl 
G.  Jung,  Dr.  Krippner  wonders  if  perhaps  this  principle 
might  not  hold  an  answer  to  these  astounding  facts.  But 
the  most  obvious  and  simplest  explanation  of  all  should  not 
be  expected  from  a medical  doctor:  fate.  Is  there  an  over- 
riding destiny  at  work  that  makes  these  tragedies  occur  at 
certain  times,  whether  or  not  those  involved  in  them  try  to 
avoid  them?  And  if  so,  who  directs  this  destiny — who,  in 
short,  is  in  charge  of  the  store? 

Dr.  Krippner  also  calls  attention  to  some  amazing 
parallels  between  the  two  most  noted  deaths  among  U.S. 
Presidents,  Kennedy’s  and  Lincoln’s,  Both  names  have 
seven  letters  each,  the  wives  of  both  lost  a son  while  their 
husbands  were  in  office,  and  both  Presidents  were  shot  in 
the  head  from  behind  on  a Friday  and  in  the  presence  of 
their  wives.  Moreover,  Lincoln’s  killer  was  John  Wilkes 
Booth,  the  letters  of  whose  name,  all  told,  add  up  to  fif- 
teen; Lee  Harvey  Oswald’s  name,  likewise,  had  fifteen  let- 
ters. Booth’s  birth  year  was  1829;  Oswald’s,  1939.  Both 
murderers  were  shot  down  deliberately  in  full  view  of  their 
captors,  and  both  died  two  hours  after  being  shot.  Lincoln 


Assassination  of  a President: 
Lincoln,  Booth,  and  the  Traitors  Within 

99 


was  elected  to  Congress  in  1847  and  Kennedy  in  1947; 
Lincoln  became  President  in  1860  and  Kennedy  in  1960. 
Both  were  involved  in  the  question  of  civil  rights  for 
African-Americans.  Finally,  Lincoln’s  secretary,  named 
Kennedy,  advised  him  not  to  go  to  the  theater  on  the  fate- 
ful day  he  was  shot,  and  Kennedy’s  secretary,  named  Lin- 
coln, urged  him  not  to  go  to  Dallas.  Lincoln  had  a 
premonitory  dream  seeing  himself  killed  and  Kennedy’s 
assassination  was  predicted  by  Jeane  Dixon  as  early  as 
1952,  by  A1  Morrison  in  1957,  and  several  other  seers  in 
1957  and  1960,  not  to  forget  President  Kennedy’s  own 
expressed  feelings  of  imminent  doom. 

But  far  be  it  from  me  to  suggest  that  the  two  Presi- 
dents might  be  personally  linked,  perhaps  through  reincar- 
nation, if  such  could  be  proved.  Their  similar  fates  must  be 
the  result  of  a higher  order  of  which  we  know  as  yet  very 
little  except  that  it  exists  and  operates  as  clearly  and  delib- 
erately as  any  other  law  of  nature. 

But  there  is  ample  reason  to  reject  any  notion  of  Lin- 
coln s rebirth  in  another  body,  if  anyone  were  to  make  such 
a claim.  Mr.  Lincoln's  ghost  has  been  observed  in  the 
White  House  by  competent  witnesses. 

According  to  Arthur  Krock  of  the  New  York  Times, 
the  earliest  specter  at  the  White  House  was  not  Lincoln 
but  Dolley  Madison.  During  President  Wilson’s  adminis- 
tration, she  appeared  to  a group  of  workers  who  were  about 
to  move  her  precious  rose  garden.  Evidently  they  changed 
their  minds  about  the  removal,  for  the  garden  was  not 
touched. 

It  is  natural  to  assume  that  in  so  emotion-laden  a 
building  as  the  White  House  there  might  be  remnants  of 
people  whose  lives  were  very  closely  tied  to  the  structure.  I 
have  defined  ghosts  as  the  surviving  emotional  memories  of 
people  who  are  not  aware  of  the  transition  called  death  and 
continue  to  function  in  a thought  world  as  they  did  at  the 
time  of  their  passing,  or  before  it.  In  a way,  then,  they  are 
psychotics  unable  or  unwilling  to  accept  the  realities  of  the 
nonphysical  world  into  which  they  properly  belong,  but 
which  is  denied  them  by  their  unnatural  state  of  “hanging 
on”  in  the  denser,  physical  world  of  flesh  and  blood.  I am 
sure  we  don't  know  all  the  unhappy  or  disturbed  individu- 
als who  are  bound  up  with  the  White  House,  and  some  of 
them  may  not  necessarily  be  from  the  distant  past,  either. 
But  Abigail  Adams  was  seen  and  identified  during  the 
administration  of  President  Taft.  Her  shade  was  seen  to 
pass  through  the  doors  of  the  East  Room,  which  was  later 
to  play  a prominent  role  in  the  White  House’s  most 
famous  ghost  story. 

That  Abraham  Lincoln  would  have  excellent  cause  to 
hang  around  his  former  center  of  activity,  even  though  he 
died  across  town,  is  obvious:  he  had  so  much  unfinished 
business  of  great  importance. 

Furthermore,  Lincoln  himself,  during  his  lifetime, 
had  on  the  record  shown  an  unusual  interest  in  the  psychic. 

CHAPTER  FIVE:  Famous  Ghosts 
100 


The  Lincoln  family  later  vehemently  denied  that 
seances  took  place  in  the  White  House  during  his  adminis- 
tration. Robert  Lincoln  may  have  burned  some  important 
papers  of  his  father’s  bearing  on  these  sittings,  along  with 
those  concerning  the  political  plot  to  assassinate  his  father. 
According  to  the  record,  he  most  certainly  destroyed  many 
documents  before  being  halted  in  this  foolish  enterprise  by 
a Mr.  Young.  This  happened  shortly  before  Robert  Lin- 
coln s death  and  is  attested  to  by  Lincoln  authority 
Emanuel  Hertz  in  The  Hidden  Lincoln. 

The  spiritualists  even  go  so  far  as  to  claim  the  Presi- 
dent as  one  of  their  own.  This  may  be  extending  the  facts, 
but  Abraham  Lincoln  was  certainly  psychic,  and  even  dur- 
ing his  term  in  the  White  House  his  interest  in  the  occult 
was  well  known.  The  Cleveland  Plain  Dealer,  about  to 
write  of  Lincoln’s  interest  in  this  subject,  asked  the  Presi- 
dent s permission  to  do  so,  or,  if  he  preferred,  that  he  deny 
the  statements  made  in  the  article  linking  him  to  these 
activities.  Far  from  denying  it,  Lincoln  replied,  “The  only 
falsehood  in  the  statement  is  that  half  of  it  has  not  been 
told.  The  article  does  not  begin  to  tell  the  things  I have 
witnessed.” 

The  seances  held  in  the  White  House  may  well  have 
started  when  Lincoln  s little  boy  Willie  followed  another 
son,  Eddie,  into  premature  death,  and  Mrs.  Lincoln’s  mind 
gave  way  to  a state  of  temporary  insanity.  Perhaps  to 
soothe  her  feelings,  Lincoln  decided  to  hold  seances  in  the 
White  House.  It  is  not  known  whether  the  results  were 
positive  or  not,  but  Willie  s ghost  has  also  been  seen  in  the 
White  House.  During  Grant’s  administration,  according  to 
Arthur  Krock,  a boy  whom  they  recognized  as  the  appari- 
tion of  little  Willie  “materialized”  before  the  eyes  of  some 
of  his  household. 

The  medium  Lincoln  most  frequently  used  was  one 
Nettie  Colburn  Maynard,  and  allegedly  the  spirit  of  Daniel 
Webster  communicated  with  him  through  her.  On  that 
occasion,  it  is  said,  he  was  urged  to  proclaim  the  emancipa- 
tion of  the  slaves.  That  proclamation,  as  everybody  knows, 
became  Lincoln  s greatest  political  achievement.  What  is 
less  known  is  the  fact  that  it  also  laid  the  foundation  for 
later  dissension  among  his  Cabinet  members  and  that,  as 
we  shall  see,  it  may  indirectly  have  caused  his  premature 
death.  Before  going  into  this,  however,  let  us  make  clear 
that  on  the  whole  Lincoln  apparently  did  not  need  any 
mediums,  for  he  himself  had  the  gift  of  clairvoyance,  and 
this  talent  stayed  with  him  all  his  life.  One  of  the  more 
remarkable  premonitory  experiences  is  reported  by  Philip 
van  Doren  Stern  in  The  Man  Who  Killed  Lincoln,  and  also 
in  most  other  sources  dealing  with  Lincoln. 

It  happened  in  Springfield  in  1860,  just  after  Lincoln 
had  been  elected.  As  he  was  looking  at  himself  in  a mirror, 
he  suddenly  saw  a double  image  of  himself.  One,  real  and 
lifelike,  and  an  etheric  double,  pale  and  shadowy.  He  was 
convinced  that  it  meant  he  would  get  through  his  first  term 
safely,  but  would  die  before  the  end  of  the  second.  Today, 
psychic  researchers  would  explain  Lincoln’s  mirror  experi- 


ence  in  less  fanciful  terms.  What  the  President  saw  was  a 
brief  “out-of-body  experience,”  or  astral  projection,  which 
is  not  an  uncommon  psychic  experience.  It  merely  means 
that  the  bonds  between  conscious  mind  and  the  uncon- 
scious are  temporarily  loosened  and  that  the  inner  or  true 
self  has  quickly  slipped  out.  Usually,  these  experiences  take 
place  in  the  dream  state,  but  there  are  cases  on  record 
where  the  phenomenon  occurs  while  awake. 

The  President's  interpretation  of  the  experience  is  of 
course  another  matter;  here  we  have  a second  phenomenon 
come  into  play,  that  of  divination;  in  his  peculiar  interpre- 
tation of  his  experience,  he  showed  a degree  of  precogni- 
tion, and  future  events,  unfortunately,  proved  him  to  be 
correct. 

This  was  not,  by  far,  the  only  recorded  dream  experi- 
enced in  Lincoln’s  life.  He  put  serious  stock  in  dreams  and 
often  liked  to  interpret  them.  William  Herndon,  Lincoln’s 
onetime  law  partner  and  biographer,  said  of  him  that  he 
always  contended  he  was  doomed  to  a sad  fate,  and  quotes 
the  President  as  saying  many  times,  "I  am  sure  I shall 
meet  with  some  terrible  end.” 

It  is  interesting  to  note  also  that  Lincoln’s  fatalism 
made  him  often  refer  to  Brutus  and  Caesar,  explaining  the 
events  of  Caesar’s  assassination  as  caused  by  laws  over 
which  neither  had  any  control;  years  later,  Lincoln’s  mur- 
derer, John  Wilkes  Booth,  also  thought  of  himself  as  the 
new  Brutus  slaying  the  American  Caesar  because  destiny 
had  singled  him  out  for  the  deed! 

Certainly  the  most  widely  quoted  psychic  experience 
of  Abraham  Lincoln  was  a strange  dream  he  had  a few 
days  before  his  death.  When  his  strangely  thoughtful  mien 
gave  Mrs.  Lincoln  cause  to  worry,  he  finally  admitted  that 
he  had  been  disturbed  by  an  unusually  detailed  dream. 
Urged,  over  dinner,  to  confide  his  dream,  he  did  so  in  the 
presence  of  Ward  Hill  Lamon,  close  friend  and  social  sec- 
retary as  well  as  a kind  of  bodyguard.  Lamon  wrote  it 
down  immediately  afterward,  and  it  is  contained  in  his 
biography  of  Lincoln: 

“About  ten  days  ago,”  the  President  began,  “I  retired 
very  late.  I had  been  up  waiting  for  important  dis- 
patches from  the  front.  I could  not  have  been  long  in 
bed  when  I fell  into  a slumber,  for  I was  weary.  I soon 
began  to  dream.  There  seemed  to  be  a death-like  still- 
ness about  me.  Then  I heard  subdued  sobs,  as  if  a num- 
ber of  people  were  weeping.  I thought  I left  my  bed  and 
wandered  downstairs.  There  the  silence  was  broken  by 
the  same  pitiful  sobbing,  but  the  mourners  were  invisi- 
ble. I went  from  room  to  room;  no  living  person  was  in 
sight,  but  the  same  mournful  sounds  of  distress  met  me 
as  I passed  along.  It  was  light  in  all  the  rooms;  every 
object  was  familiar  to  me;  but  where  were  all  the  people 
who  were  grieving  as  if  their  hearts  would  break?  I was 
puzzled  and  alarmed.  What  could  be  the  meaning  of  all 
this?  Determined  to  find  the  cause  of  a state  of  things  so 
mysterious  and  so  shocking,  I kept  on  until  I arrived  at 
the  East  Room,  which  I entered. 


“There  I met  with  a sickening  surprise.  Before  me 
was  a catafalque,  on  which  rested  a corpse  wrapped  in 
funeral  vestments.  Around  it  were  stationed  soldiers 
who  were  acting  as  guards;  and  there  was  a throng  of 
people,  some  gazing  mournfully  upon  the  corpse,  whose 
face  was  covered,  others  weeping  pitifully. 

‘“Who  is  dead  in  the  White  House?’  I demanded  of 
one  of  the  soldiers.  ‘The  President,’  was  his  answer;  ‘he 
was  killed  by  an  assassin!’  Then  there  came  a loud  burst 
of  grief  from  the  crowd,  which  awoke  me  from  my 
dream.  I slept  no  more  that  night. ...” 

Lincoln  always  knew  he  was  a marked  man,  not  only 
because  of  his  own  psychic  hunches,  but  objectively,  for  he 
kept  a sizable  envelope  in  his  desk  containing  all  the 
threatening  letters  he  had  received.  That  envelope  was  sim- 
ply marked  “Assassination,”  and  the  matter  did  not 
frighten  him.  A man  in  his  position  is  always  in  danger,  he 
would  argue,  although  the  Civil  War  and  the  larger  ques- 
tion of  what  to  do  with  the  South  after  victory  had  split  the 
country  into  two  factions,  made  the  President’s  position 
even  more  vulnerable.  Lincoln  therefore  did  not  take  his 
elaborate  dream  warning  seriously,  or  at  any  rate,  he  pre- 
tended not  to.  When  his  friends  remonstrated  with  him, 
asking  him  to  take  extra  precautions,  he  shrugged  off  their 
warnings  with  the  lighthearted  remark,  “Why,  it  wasn’t  me 
on  that  catafalque.  It  was  some  other  fellow!” 

But  the  face  of  the  corpse  had  been  covered  in  his 
dream  and  he  really  was  whistling  in  the  dark. 

Had  fate  wanted  to  prevent  the  tragedy  and  give  him 
warning  to  avoid  it? 

Had  an  even  higher  order  of  things  decided  that  he 
was  to  ignore  that  warning? 

Lincoln  had  often  had  a certain  dream  in  which  he 
saw  himself  on  a strange  ship,  moving  with  great  speed 
toward  an  indefinite  shore.  The  dream  had  always  preceded 
some  unusual  event.  In  effect,  he  had  dreamed  it  precisely 
in  the  same  way  preceding  the  events  at  Fort  Sumter,  the 
Battles  of  Bull  Run,  Antietam,  Gettysburg,  Stone  River, 
Vicksburg,  and  Wilmington.  Now  he  had  just  dreamed  it 
again  on  the  eve  of  his  death.  This  was  April  13,  1865,  and 
Lincoln  spoke  of  his  recurrent  dream  in  unusually  opti- 
mistic tones.  To  him  it  was  an  indication  of  impending 
good  news.  That  news,  he  felt,  would  be  word  from  Gen- 
eral Sherman  that  hostilities  had  ceased.  There  was  a Cabi- 
net meeting  scheduled  for  April  14  and  Lincoln  hoped  the 
news  would  come  in  time  for  it.  It  never  occurred  to  him 
that  the  important  news  hinted  at  by  this  dream  was  his 
own  demise  that  very  evening,  and  that  the  strange  vessel 
carrying  him  to  a distant  shore  was  Charon’s  boat  ferrying 
him  across  the  Styx  into  the  nonphysical  world. 

But  had  he  really  crossed  over? 

Rumors  of  a ghostly  President  in  the  White  House 
kept  circulating.  They  were  promptly  denied  by  the  gov- 

Assassination  of  a President: 

Lincoln,  Booth,  and  the  Traitors  Within 

101 


ernment,  as  would  be  expected.  President  Theodore  Roo- 
sevelt, according  to  Bess  Furman  in  White  House  Profile, 
often  fancied  that  he  felt  Lincoln’s  spirit,  and  during  the 
administration  of  Franklin  D.  Roosevelt,  in  the  1930s,  a 
female  secretary  saw  the  figure  of  Abraham  Lincoln  in  his 
onetime  bedroom.  The  ghost  was  seated  on  the  bed, 
pulling  on  his  boots,  as  if  he  were  in  a hurry  to  go  some- 
where. This  happened  in  mid-afternoon.  Eleanor  Roosevelt 
had  often  felt  Lincoln’s  presence  and  freely  admitted  it. 

Now  it  had  been  the  habit  of  the  administration  to 
put  important  visitors  into  what  was  formerly  Lincoln’s 
bedroom.  This  was  not  done  out  of  mischief,  but  merely 
because  the  Lincoln  room  was  among  the  most  impressive 
rooms  of  the  White  House.  We  have  no  record  of  all  those 
who  slept  there  and  had  eerie  experiences,  for  people,  espe- 
cially politically  highly  placed  people,  don’t  talk  about  such 
things  as  ghosts. 

Yet,  the  late  Queen  Wilhelmina  did  mention  the  con- 
stant knockings  at  her  door  followed  by  footsteps — only  to 
find  the  corridor  outside  deserted.  And  Margaret  Truman, 
who  also  slept  in  that  area  of  the  White  House,  often  heard 
knocking  at  her  bedroom  door  at  3 A.M.  Whenever  she 
checked,  there  was  nobody  there.  Her  father,  President 
Truman,  a skeptic,  decided  that  the  noises  had  to  be  due 
to  “natural”  causes,  such  as  the  dangerous  settling  of  the 
floors.  He  ordered  the  White  House  completely  rebuilt, 
and  perhaps  this  was  a good  thing:  It  would  surely  have 
collapsed  soon  after,  according  to  the  architect,  General 
Edgerton.  Thus,  if  nothing  else,  the  ghostly  knockings  had 
led  to  a survey  of  the  structure  and  subsequent  rebuilding. 
Or  was  that  the  reason  for  the  knocks?  Had  Lincoln  tried 
to  warn  the  later  occupants  that  the  house  was  about  to  fall 
down  around  their  ears? 

Not  only  Lincoln's  bedroom,  but  other  old  areas  of 
the  White  House  are  evidently  haunted.  There  is,  first  of 
all,  the  famous  East  Room,  where  the  lying -in -state  took 
place.  By  a strange  quirk  of  fate,  President  Kennedy  also 
was  placed  there  after  his  assassination.  Lynda  Bird  John- 
son’s room  happened  to  be  the  room  in  which  Willie  Lin- 
coln died,  and  later  on,  Truman’s  mother.  It  was  also  the 
room  used  by  the  doctors  to  perform  the  autopsy  on  Abra- 
ham Lincoln.  It  is  therefore  not  too  surprising  that  Presi- 
dent Johnson’s  daughter  did  not  sleep  too  well  in  the  room. 
She  heard  footsteps  at  night,  and  the  phone  would  ring  and 
no  one  would  be  on  the  other  end.  An  exasperated  White 
House  telephone  operator  would  come  on  again  and  again, 
explaining  she  did  not  ring  her! 

But  if  Abraham  Lincoln’s  ghost  roams  the  White 
House  because  of  unfinished  business,  it  is  apparently  a 
ghost  free  to  do  other  things  as  well,  something  the  average 
specter  can’t  do,  since  it  is  tied  only  to  the  place  of  its 
untimely  demise. 

Mrs.  Lincoln  lived  on  for  many  more  years,  but  ulti- 
mately turned  senile  and  died  not  in  her  right  mind  at  the 

CHAPTER  FIVE:  Famous  Ghosts 
102 


home  of  her  sister.  Long  before  she  became  unbalanced, 
however,  she  journeyed  to  Boston  in  a continuing  search 
for  some  proof  of  her  late  husband’s  survival  of  bodily 
death.  This  was  in  the  1880s,  and  word  had  reached  her 
that  a certain  photographer  named  William  Mumler  had 
been  able  to  obtain  the  likenesses  of  dead  people  on  his 
photographic  plates  under  strict  test  conditions.  She 
decided  to  try  this  man,  fully  aware  that  fraud  might  be 
attempted  if  she  were  recognized.  Heavily  veiled  in  mourn- 
ing clothes,  she  sat  down  along  with  other  visitors  in 
Mumler ’s  experimental  study.  She  gave  the  name  of  Mrs. 
Tyndall;  all  Mumler  could  see  was  a widow  in  heavy  veils. 
Mumler  then  proceeded  to  take  pictures  of  all  those  present 
in  the  room.  When  they  were  developed,  there  was  one  of 
“Mrs.  Tyndall.”  In  back  of  her  appears  a semi-solid  figure 
of  Abraham  Lincoln,  with  his  hands  resting  upon  the 
shoulders  of  his  widow,  and  an  expression  of  great  compas- 
sion on  his  face.  Next  to  Lincoln  was  the  figure  of  their 
son  Willie,  who  had  died  so  young  in  the  White  House. 
Mumler  showed  his  prints  to  the  assembled  group,  and 
before  Mrs.  Lincoln  could  claim  her  print,  another  woman 
in  the  group  exclaimed.  “Why,  that  looks  like  President 
Lincoln!”  Then  Mrs.  Lincoln  identified  herself  for  the  first 
time. 

There  is,  by  the  way,  no  photograph  in  existence 
showing  Lincoln  with  his  son  in  the  manner  in  which  they 
appeared  on  the  psychic  photograph. 

Another  photographic  likeness  of  Lincoln  was 
obtained  in  1937  in  an  experiment  commemorating  the 
President’s  one-hundredth  birthday.  This  took  place  at 
Cassadaga,  Florida,  with  Horace  Hambling  as  the  psychic 
intermediary,  whose  mere  presence  would  make  such  a 
phenomenon  possible. 

Ralph  Pressing,  editor  of  the  Psychic  Observer,  was  to 
supply  and  guard  the  roll  of  film  to  be  used,  and  the  expo- 
sures were  made  in  dim  light  inside  a seance  room.  The 
roll  of  film  was  then  handed  to  a local  photographer  for 
developing,  without  telling  him  anything.  Imagine  the 
man’s  surprise  when  he  found  a clearly  defined  portrait  of 
Abraham  Lincoln,  along  with  four  other,  smaller  faces, 
superimposed  on  the  otherwise  black  negative. 

I myself  was  present  at  an  experiment  in  San  Fran- 
cisco, when  a reputable  physician  by  the  name  of  Andrew 
von  Salza  demonstrated  his  amazing  gift  of  psychic  photog- 
raphy, using  a Polaroid  camera.  This  was  in  the  fall  of 
1966,  and  several  other  people  witnessed  the  proceedings, 
which  I reported  in  my  book  Psychic  Photography — Thresh- 
old of  a New  Science? 

After  I had  examined  the  camera,  lens,  film,  and 
premises  carefully,  Dr.  von  Salza  took  a number  of  pictures 
with  the  Polaroid  camera.  On  many  of  them  there  appeared 
various  “extras,”  or  faces  of  people  superimposed  in  a 
manner  excluding  fraud  or  double  exposure  completely. 

The  most  interesting  of  these  psychic  impressions  was  a 
picture  showing  the  face  of  President  Lincoln,  with  Presi- 
dent Kennedy  next  to  him! 


Had  the  two  men,  who  had  suffered  in  so  many  simi- 
lar ways,  found  a bond  between  them  in  the  nonphysical 
world?  The  amazing  picture  followed  one  on  which  Presi- 
dent Kennedy’s  face  appeared  alone,  accompanied  by  the 
word  “War”  written  in  white  ectoplasm.  Was  this  their 
way  to  warn  us  to  "mend  our  ways”? 

Whatever  the  meaning,  I am  sure  of  one  thing:  The 
phenomenon  itself,  the  experiment,  was  genuine  and  in  no 
way  the  result  of  deceit,  accident,  self-delusion,  or  halluci- 
nation. I have  published  both  pictures  for  all  to  see. 

There  are  dozens  of  good  books  dealing  with  the 
tragedy  of  Abraham  Lincoln’s  reign  and  untimely  death. 
And  yet  I had  always  felt  that  the  story  had  not  been  told 
fully.  This  conviction  was  not  only  due  to  the  reported 
appearances  of  Lincoln’s  ghost,  indicating  restlessness  and 
unfinished  business,  but  also  to  my  objective  historical 
training  that  somehow  led  me  to  reject  the  solutions  given 
of  the  plot  in  very  much  the  same  way  many  serious  peo- 
ple today  refuse  to  accept  the  findings  of  the  Warren  Com- 
mission as  fined  in  the  case  of  President  Kennedy’s  death. 
But  where  to  begin? 

Surely,  if  Lincoln  had  been  seen  at  the  White  House 
in  recent  years,  that  would  be  the  place  to  start.  True,  he 
was  shot  at  Ford’s  Theatre  and  actually  died  in  the  Parker 
House  across  the  street.  But  the  White  House  was  his 
home.  Ghosts  often  occur  where  the  “emotional  center”  of 
the  person  was,  while  in  the  body,  even  though  actual 
death  might  have  occurred  elsewhere.  A case  in  point  is 
Alexander  Hamilton,  whose  shade  has  been  observed  in 
what  was  once  his  personal  physician’s  house;  it  was  there 
that  he  spent  his  final  day  on  earth,  and  his  unsuccessful 
struggle  to  cling  to  life  made  it  his  “emotional  center” 
father  than  the  spot  in  New  Jersey  where  he  received  the 
fatal  wound. 

Nell  Gwyn’s  spirit,  as  we  shall  see  in  a later  chapter 
appeared  in  the  romantic  apartment  of  her  younger  years 
rather  than  in  the  staid  home  where  she  actually  died. 

Even  though  there  might  be  imprints  of  the  great 
tragedy  at  both  Ford’s  Theatre  and  the  Parker  House,  Lin- 
coln himself  would  not,  in  my  estimation,  "hang  around” 
there! 

My  request  for  a quiet  investigation  in  the  White 
House  went  back  to  1963  when  Pierre  Salinger  was  still  in 
charge  and  John  F.  Kennedy  was  President.  I never  got  an 
answer,  and  in  March  1965  I tried  again.  This  time,  Bess 
Abell,  social  secretary  to  Mrs.  Johnson,  turned  me  down 
“for  security  reasons.”  Patiently,  I wrote  back  explaining  I 
merely  wanted  to  spend  a half  hour  or  so  with  a psychic, 
probably  Mrs.  Leek,  in  two  rarely  used  areas:  Lincoln's 
bedroom  and  the  East  Room.  Bess  Abell  had  referred  to 
the  White  House  policy  of  not  allowing  visitors  into  the 
President’s  private  living  quarters.”  I pointed  out  that  the 
President,  to  my  knowledge,  did  not  spend  his  nights  in 
Lincoln’s  bedroom,  nor  was  the  East  Room  anything  but 
part  of  the  ceremonial  or  official  government  rooms  and 
hardly  “private  living  quarters,”  especially  as  tourists  are 


taken  through  it  every  hour  or  so.  As  for  security,  why,  I 
would  gladly  submit  anything  I wrote  about  my  studies  for 
their  approval. 

Back  came  another  pensive  missive  from  Bess  Abell. 
The  President  and  Mrs.  Johnson’s  “restrictive  schedules” 
would  not  permit  my  visit. 

I offered,  in  return,  to  come  at  any  time,  day  or 
night,  when  the  Johnsons  were  out  of  town. 

The  answer  was  still  no,  and  I began  to  wonder  if  it 
was  merely  a question  of  not  wanting  anything  to  do  with 
ESP? 

But  a good  researcher  never  gives  up  hope.  I subse- 
quently asked  Senator  Jacob  Javits  to  help  me  get  into  the 
White  House,  but  even  he  couldn’t  get  me  in.  Through  a 
local  friend  I met  James  Kerchum,  the  curator  of  the  State 
rooms.  Would  he  give  me  a privately  conducted  tour 
exactly  like  the  regular  tourist  tour,  except  minus  tourists 
to  distract  us? 

The  answer  remained  negative. 

On  March  6,  1967,  Bess  Abell  again  informed  me 
that  the  only  individuals  eligible  for  admission  to  the  two 
rooms  I wanted  to  see  were  people  invited  for  State  visits 
and  close  personal  friends.  On  either  count,  that  left  us 
out. 

I asked  Elizabeth  Carpenter,  whom  I knew  to  be 
favorably  inclined  toward  ESP,  to  intervene.  As  press  secre- 
tary to  Mrs.  Johnson,  I thought  she  might  be  able  to  give 
me  a less  contrived  excuse,  at  the  very  least.  “An  impossi- 
ble precedent,”  she  explained,  if  I were  to  be  allowed  in.  I 
refused  to  take  the  tourist  tour,  of  course,  as  it  would  be  a 
waste  of  my  time,  and  dropped  the  matter  for  the  time 
being. 

But  I never  lost  interest  in  the  case.  To  me,  finding 
the  missing  link  between  what  is  officially  known  about 
Lincoln’s  murderer  and  the  true  extent  of  the  plot  would 
be  an  important  contribution  to  American  history. 

The  events  themselves  immediately  preceding  and 
following  that  dark  day  in  American  history  are  known  to 
most  readers,  but  there  are,  perhaps,  some  details  which 
only  the  specialist  would  be  familiar  with  and  which  will 
be  found  to  have  significance  later  in  my  investigation.  I 
think  it  therefore  useful  to  mention  these  events  here, 
although  they  were  not  known  to  me  at  the  time  I under- 
took my  psychic  investigation.  I try  to  keep  my  uncon- 
scious mind  free  of  all  knowledge  so  that  no  one  may 
accuse  my  psychics  of  “reading  my  mind,”  or  suggest  simi- 
lar explanations  for  what  transpires.  Only  at  the  end  of  this 
amazing  case  did  I go  through  the  contemporary  record  of 
the  assassination. 

* * * 

The  War  between  the  States  had  been  going  on  for 
four  years,  and  the  South  was  finally  losing.  This  was  obvi- 

Assassination  of  a President: 

Lincoln,  Booth,  and  the  Traitors  within 

103 


ous  even  to  diehard  Confederates,  and  everybody  wanted 
only  one  thing  to  get  it  over  with  as  quickly  as  possible 
and  resume  a normal  life  once  again. 

While  the  South  was,  by  and  large,  displaying  apathy, 
there  were  still  some  fanatics  who  thought  they  could 
change  the  course  of  events  by  some  miracle.  In  the  North, 
it  was  a question  of  freeing  the  slaves  and  restoring  the 
Union.  In  the  South,  it  was  not  only  a question  of  main- 
taining the  economic  system  they  had  come  to  consider  the 
only  feasible  one,  but  also  one  of  maintaining  the  feudal, 
largely  rural  system  their  ancestors  had  known  in  Europe 
and  which  was  being  endangered  by  the  industrialized 
North  with  its  intellectuals,  labor  forces,  and  new  values. 
To  save  the  South  from  such  a fate  seemed  a noble  cause 
to  a handful  of  fanatics,  among  them  John  Wilkes  Booth, 
the  man  who  was  to  play  so  fateful  a role.  Ironically,  he 
was  not  even  a true  Southerner,  but  a man  born  on  the 
fringe  of  the  South,  in  Maryland,  and  his  family,  without 
exception,  considered  itself  to  be  of  the  North. 

John  Wilkes  Booth  was,  of  course,  the  lesser  known 
of  the  Booth  brothers,  scions  of  a family  celebrated  in  the 
theater  of  their  age,  and  when  Edwin  Booth,  “the  Prince  of 
Players,"  learned  of  the  terrible  crime  his  younger  brother 
had  committed,  he  was  genuinely  shocked,  and  immedi- 
ately made  clear  his  position  as  a longtime  supporter  of 
Abraham  Lincoln. 

But  John  Wilkes  Booth  did  not  care  whether  his  peo- 
ple were  with  him  or  not.  Still  in  his  early  twenties,  he  was 
not  only  politically  immature  but  also  romantically 
inspired.  He  could  not  understand  the  economic  changes 
that  were  sure  to  take  place  and  which  no  bullet  could 
stop. 

And  so,  while  the  War  between  the  States  was  drawing 
to  a close,  Booth  decided  to  become  the  savior  of  his 
adopted  Dixie,  and  surrounded  himself  with  a small  and 
motley  band  of  helpers  who  had  their  secret  meetings  at 
Mrs.  Mary  Surratt’s  boarding  house  in  Washington. 

At  first,  they  were  discussing  a plot  to  abduct  Presi- 
dent Lincoln  and  to  deliver  him  to  his  foes  at  the  Confed- 
erate capital  in  Richmond,  but  the  plot  never  came  into 
being.  Richmond  fell  to  the  Yankees,  and  time  ran  out  for 
the  cause  of  the  Confederacy.  As  the  days  crept  by  and 
Booth’s  fervor  to  “do  something  drastic”  for  his  cause 
increased,  the  young  actor  started  thinking  in  terms  of 
killing  the  man  whom  he  blamed  for  his  country’s  defeat. 
To  Booth,  Lincoln  was  the  center  of  all  he  hated,  and  he 
believed  that  once  the  man  was  removed  all  would  be  well. 

Such  reasoning,  of  course,  is  the  reasoning  of  a 
demented  mind.  Had  Booth  really  been  an  astute  politician, 
he  would  have  realized  that  Lincoln  was  a moderate  com- 
pared to  some  members  of  his  Cabinet,  that  the  President 
was  indeed,  as  some  Southern  leaders  put  it  when  news  of 
the  murder  reached  them,  “the  best  friend  the  South  had 
ever  had.” 

CHAPTER  FIVE:  Famous  Ghosts 
104 


Had  he  appraised  the  situation  in  Washington  cor- 
rectly, he  would  have  realized  that  any  man  taking  the 
place  of  Abraham  Lincoln  was  bound  to  be  far  worse  for 
Southern  aspirations  than  Lincoln,  who  had  deeply  regret- 
ted the  war  and  its  hardships  and  who  was  eager  to  receive 
the  seceded  states  back  into  the  Union  fold  with  as  little 
punishment  as  possible. 

Not  so  the  war  party,  principally  Stanton,  the  Secre- 
tary of  War,  and  Seward,  the  Secretary  of  State.  Theirs  was 
a harsher  outlook,  and  history  later  proved  them  to  be  the 
winners — but  also  the  cause  of  long  years  of  continuing 
conflict  between  North  and  South,  conflict  and  resentment 
that  could  have  been  avoided  had  Lincoln’s  conciliatory 
policies  been  allowed  to  prevail. 

The  principal  fellow  conspirators  against  Lincoln 
were  an  ex-Confederate  soldier  named  Lewis  Paine;  David 
Herold,  a druggist’s  clerk  who  could  not  hold  a job; 

George  Atzerodt,  a German  born  carriagemaker;  Samuel 
Arnold,  a clerk;  Michael  O’Laughlin,  another  clerk;  Mrs. 
Mary  Surratt,  the  Washington  boarding  house  keeper  at 
whose  house  they  met;  and  finally,  and  importantly,  John 
Harrison  Surratt,  her  son,  by  profession  a Confederate  spy 
and  courier.  At  the  time  of  the  final  conspiracy  Booth  was 
only  twenty-six,  Surratt  twenty-one,  and  Herold  twenty- 
three,  which  perhaps  accounts  for  the  utter  folly  of  their 
actions. 

The  only  one,  besides  Booth,  who  had  any  qualities 
of  leadership  was  young  Surratt.  His  main  job  at  the  time 
was  traveling  between  Washington  and  Montreal  as  a 
secret  courier  for  the  Washington  agents  of  the  Confeder- 
acy and  the  Montreal,  Canada  headquarters  of  the  rebels. 
Originally  a clerk  with  the  Adams  Express  Company, 
young  Surratt  had  excellent  connections  in  communications 
and  was  well  known  in  Washington  government  circles, 
although  his  undercover  activities  were  not. 

When  Booth  had  convinced  Surratt  that  the  only  way 
to  help  the  Confederacy  was  to  murder  the  President,  they 
joined  forces.  Surratt  had  reservations  about  this  course, 
and  Mrs.  Surratt  certainly  wanted  no  part  of  violence  or 
murder.  But  they  were  both  swept  up  in  the  course  of 
events  that  followed. 

Unfortunately,  they  had  not  paid  enough  attention  to 
the  presence  in  the  Surratt  boarding  house  on  H Street  of  a 
young  War  Department  clerk  named  Louis  Weichmann. 
Originally  intending  to  become  a priest,  young  Weichmann 
was  a witness  to  much  of  the  coming  and  going  of  the  con- 
spirators, and  despite  his  friendship  for  John  Surratt,  which 
had  originally  brought  him  to  the  Surratt  boarding  house, 
he  eventually  turned  against  the  Surratts.  It  was  his  testi- 
mony at  Mrs.  Surratt’s  trial  that  ultimately  led  to  her 
hanging. 

Originally,  Mrs.  Surratt  had  owned  a tavern  in  a 
small  town  thirteen  miles  south  of  Washington  then  called 
Surrattsville  and  later,  for  obvious  reasons,  renamed  Clin- 
ton, Maryland.  When  business  at  the  tavern  fell  off,  she 
leased  it  to  an  innkeeper  named  John  Lloyd,  and  moved  to 


Washington,  where  she  opened  a boarding  house  on  H 
Street,  between  Sixth  and  Seventh  Streets,  which  house  still 
stands. 

Certainly  she  was  present  when  the  plans  for  Lin- 
coln’s abduction  were  made,  but  she  never  was  part  of  the 
conspiracy  to  kill  him.  That  was  chiefly  Booth’s  brain 
child,  and  all  of  his  confederates  were  reluctant,  in  varying 
degrees,  to  go  along  with  him;  nevertheless,  such  was  his 
ability  to  impress  men  that  they  ultimately  gave  in  to  his 
urgings.  Then,  too,  they  had  already  gotten  into  this  con- 
spiracy so  deeply  that  if  one  were  caught  they’d  all  hang. 

So  it  seemed  just  as  well  that  they  did  it  together  and 
increased  their  chances  of  getting  away  alive. 

Booth  himself  was  to  shoot  the  President.  And  when 
he  discovered  that  the  Lincolns  would  be  in  the  State  box 
at  Ford’s  Theatre,  Washington,  on  the  evening  of  April  14, 
1865,  it  was  decided  to  do  it  there.  Surratt  was  to  try  to 
"fix  the  wires”  so  that  the  telegraph  would  not  work  during 
the  time  following  the  assassination.  He  had  the  right  con- 
nections, and  he  knew  he  could  do  it.  In  addition,  he  was 
to  follow  General  Grant  on  a train  that  was  to  take  the 
general  and  his  wife  to  New  Jersey.  Lewis  Paine  was  to  kill 
Secretary  Seward  at  the  same  time. 

Booth  had  carefully  surveyed  the  theater  beforehand, 
making  excellent  use  of  the  fact  that  as  an  actor  he  was 
known  and  respected  there.  This  also  made  it  quite  easy  to 
get  inside  the  strategic  moment.  The  play  on  stage  was 
“Our  American  Cousin”  starring  Laura  Keene.  Booth’s 
plans  were  furthermore  helped  by  a stroke  of  luck — or  fate, 
if  you  prefer,  namely,  one  of  the  men  who  was  supposed  to 
guard  the  President’s  box  was  momentarily  absent  from  his 
post. 

The  hour  was  shortly  after  10  P.M.  when  Booth 
quickly  entered  the  box,  killed  Lincoln  with  a small  Der- 
ringer pistol,  struggled  with  a second  guard  and  then, 
according  to  plan,  jumped  over  the  box  rail  onto  the  stage 
below. 

Lincoln  lived  through  the  night  but  never  regained 
consciousness.  He  expired  in  the  Parker  House  across  from 
Ford’s  theatre,  where  he  had  been  brought.  Booth  caught 
his  heel  on  an  American  flag  that  adorned  the  stage  box, 
and  fell,  breaking  his  leg  in  the  process.  Despite  intense 
pain,  he  managed  to  escape  in  the  confusion  and  jump  on 
the  horse  he  had  prepared  outside. 

When  he  got  to  the  Navy  Yard  bridge  crossing  the 
Anacostia  River,  the  sentry  on  this  road  leading  to  the 
South  stopped  him.  What  was  he  doing  out  on  the  road 
that  late?  In  wartime  Washington,  all  important  exits  from 
the  city  were  controlled.  But  Booth  merely  told  the  man  his 
name  and  that  he  lived  in  Charles  County.  He  was  let 
through,  despite  the  fact  that  a nine  o’clock  curfew  was 
being  rigidly  enforced  at  that  moment.  Many  later  histori- 
ans have  found  this  incident  odd,  and  have  darkly  pointed 
to  a conspiracy;  It  may  well  be  that  Surratt  did  arrange  for 

Lthe  easy  passage,  as  they  had  all  along  planned  to  use  the 




road  over  the  Anacostia  River  bridge  to  make  good  their 
escape. 

A little  later,  Booth  was  joined  on  the  road  by  David 
Herold.  Together  they  rode  out  to  the  Surratt  tavern, 
where  they  arrived  around  midnight.  The  purpose  of  their 
visit  there  at  that  moment  became  clear  to  me  only  much 
later.  The  tavern  had  of  course  been  a meeting  place  for 
Booth  and  Surratt  and  the  others  before  Mrs.  Surratt 
moved  her  establishment  to  Washington.  Shortly  after,  the 
two  men  rode  onward  and  entered  the  last  leg  of  their  jour- 
ney. After  a harrowing  escape  interrupted  by  temporary 
stays  at  Dr.  Mudd’s  office  at  Bryantown — where  Booth 
had  his  leg  looked  after — and  various  attempts  to  cross  the 
Potomac,  the  two  men  holed  up  at  Garrett’s  farm  near  Port 
Royal,  Virginia.  It  was  there  that  they  were  hunted  down 
like  mad  dogs  by  the  Federal  forces.  Twelve  days  after 
Lincoln’s  murder,  on  April  26,  1865,  Booth  was  shot 
down.  Even  that  latter  fact  is  not  certain:  Had  he  commit- 
ted suicide  when  he  saw  no  way  out  of  Garrett’s  burning 
barn,  with  soldiers  all  around  it?  Or  had  the  avenger’s  bul- 
let of  Sergeant  Boston  Corbett  found  its  mark,  as  the  sol- 
dier had  claimed? 

It  is  not  my  intent  here  to  go  into  the  details  of  the 
flight  and  capture,  as  these  events  are  amply  told  else- 
where. The  mystery  is  not  so  much  Booth’s  crime  and 
punishment,  about  which  there  is  no  doubt,  but  the  ques- 
tion of  who  really  plotted  Lincoln’s  death.  The  State 
funeral  was  hardly  over  when  all  sorts  of  rumors  and  leg- 
ends concerning  the  plot  started  to  spring  up. 

Mrs.  Surratt  was  arrested  immediately,  and  she,  along 
with  Paine,  Atzerodt,  and  Herold  were  hanged  after  a trial 
marked  by  prejudice  and  the  withholding  of  vital  informa- 
tion, such  as  Booth’s  own  diary,  which  Secretary  of  War 
Stanton  had  ordered  confiscated  and  which  was  never 
entered  as  an  exhibit  at  the  trial.  This,  along  with  the  fact 
that  Stanton  was  at  odds  politically  with  Lincoln,  gave  rise 
to  various  speculations  concerning  Stanton’s  involvement  in 
the  plot.  Then,  too,  there  was  the  question  of  the  role  John 
Surratt  had  played,  so  much  of  it  covered  by  secrecy,  like 
an  iceburg  with  only  a small  portion  showing  above  the 
surface! 

After  he  had  escaped  from  the  United  States  and 
gone  to  Europe  and  then  to  Egypt,  he  was  ultimately  cap- 
tured and  extradited  to  stand  trial  in  1867.  But  a jury  of 
four  Northerners  and  eight  Southerners  allowed  him  to  go 
free,  when  they  could  not  agree  on  a verdict  of  guilty.  Sur- 
ratt moved  to  Baltimore,  where  he  went  into  business  and 
died  in  1916.  Very  little  is  known  of  his  activities  beyond 
these  bare  facts.  The  lesser  conspirators,  those  who  merely 
helped  the  murderer  escape,  were  convicted  to  heavy  prison 
terms. 

There  was  some  to  do  about  Booth’s  body  also.  After 
it  had  been  identified  by  a number  of  people  who  knew 

Assassination  of  a President: 

Lincoln,  Booth,  and  the  Traitors  Within 

105 


him  in  life,  it  was  buried  under  the  stone  floor  of  the  Arse- 
nal Prison  in  Washington,  the  same  prison  where  the  four 
other  conspirators  had  been  executed.  But  in  1867,  the 
prison  was  torn  down  and  the  five  bodies  exhumed.  One  of 
them,  presumed  to  be  Booth’s,  was  interred  in  the  family 
plot  in  Greenmount  Cemetery,  Baltimore.  Yet  a rumor 
arose,  and  never  ceased,  that  actually  someone  else  lay  in 
Booth’s  grave  and,  though  most  historians  refuse  to  take 
this  seriously,  according  to  Philip  Van  Doren  Stern,  “the 
question  of  whether  or  not  the  man  who  died  at  Garrett’s 
Farm  was  John  Wilkes  Booth  is  one  that  doubtless  will 
never  be  settled.” 

No  accounts  of  any  psychic  nature  concerning  Booth 
have  been  reported  to  date,  and  Booth’s  ghost  does  not 
walk  the  corridors  of  Ford’s  Theatre  the  way  Lincoln’s 
does  in  the  White  Flouse.  The  spot  where  Garrett’s  farm 
used  to  stand  is  no  longer  as  it  was,  and  a new  building 
has  long  replaced  the  old  barn. 

If  I were  to  shed  new  light  or  uncover  fresh  evidence 
concerning  the  plot  to  kill  Lincoln,  I would  have  to  go  to  a 
place  having  emotional  ties  to  the  event  itself.  But  the  con- 
stant refusal  of  the  White  Flouse  to  permit  me  a short  visit 
made  it  impossible  for  me  to  do  so  properly. 

The  questions  that,  to  me,  seem  in  need  of  clarifica- 
tion concerned,  first  of  all,  the  strange  role  John  H.  Surratt 
had  played  in  the  plot;  secondly,  was  Booth  really  the  one 
who  initiated  the  murder,  and  was  he  really  the  leader  of 
the  plot?  One  notices  the  close  parallel  between  this  case 
and  the  assassination  of  President  Kennedy. 

As  I began  this  investigation,  my  own  feelings  were 
that  an  involvement  of  War  Secretary  Stanton  could  be 
shown  and  that  there  probably  was  a northern  plot  to  kill 
Lincoln  as  well  as  a southern  desire  to  get  rid  of  him.  But 
that  was  pure  speculation  on  my  part,  and  I had  as  yet 
nothing  to  back  up  my  contention.  Then  fate  played  a let- 
ter into  my  hands,  out  of  left  field,  so  to  speak,  that  gave 
me  new  hope  for  a solution  to  this  exciting  case. 

A young  girl  by  the  name  of  Phyllis  Amos,  of  Wash- 
ington, Pennsylvania,  had  seen  me  on  a television  show  in 
the  fall  of  1967.  She  contacted  me  by  letter,  and  as  a con- 
sequence I organized  an  expedition  to  the  Surratt  tavern, 
the  same  tavern  that  had  served  as  home  to  Mrs.  Mary 
Surratt  and  as  a focal  point  of  the  Lincoln  conspiracy  prior 
to  the  move  to  H Street  in  Washington. 

Phyllis’  connection  with  the  old  tavern  goes  back  to 
1955.  It  was  then  occupied  by  a Mrs.  Ella  Curtain  and  by 
Phyllis’  family,  who  shared  the  house  with  this  elderly 
lady.  Mrs.  Curtain’s  brother  B.  K.  Miler,  a prosperous 
supermarket  owner  nearby,  was  the  actual  owner  of  the 
house,  but  the  let  his  sister  live  there.  Since  it  was  a large 
house,  they  subleased  to  the  Amos  family,  which  then  con- 
sisted of  Mr.  and  Mrs.  Amos  and  their  two  girls,  about  two 
years  apart  in  age. 


CHAPTER  FIVE:  Famous  Ghosts 
106 


Phyllis,  who  is  now  in  her  twenties,  occupied  a room 
on  the  upper  floor;  across  the  narrow  hall  from  her  room 
was  Ella  Curtain’s  room — once  the  room  where  John 
Wilkes  Booth  had  hidden  his  guns.  To  the  right  of  Phyllis’ 
bedroom  and  a few  steps  down  was  a large  room  where  the 
conspirators  met  regularly.  It  was  shielded  from  the  curious 
by  a small  anteroom  through  which  one  would  have  to  go 
to  reach  the  meeting  room.  Downstairs  were  the  parents’ 
room  and  a large  reception  room.  The  house  stood  almost 
directly  on  the  road,  surrounded  by  dark  green  trees.  A 
forlorn  metal  sign  farther  back  was  the  sole  indication  that 
this  was  considered  a historical  landmark:  If  you  didn’t 
know  the  sign  was  there,  you  wouldn’t  find  it  unless  you 
were  driving  by  at  very  slow  speed. 

Mrs.  Amos  never  felt  comfortable  in  the  house  from 
the  moment  they  moved  in,  and  after  eight  months  of 
occupancy  the  Amos  family  left.  But  during  those  eight 
months  they  experienced  some  pretty  strange  things.  One 
day  she  was  alone  in  the  house  when  it  suddenly  struck  her 
that  someone  was  watching  her  intently.  Terrified,  she  ran 
to  her  bedroom  and  locked  the  door,  not  coming  out  until 
her  husband  returned.  The  smaller  of  the  two  girls  kept 
asking  her  mother  who  the  strange  men  were  she  saw  sit- 
ting on  the  back  stairs.  She  would  hear  them  talk  in  whis- 
pers up  there. 

The  other  occupant  of  the  house,  Mrs.  Curtain,  was 
certainly  not  a steadying  influence  on  them.  On  one  occa- 
sion she  saw  the  figure  of  a woman  “float”  down  the  front 
steps.  That  woman,  she  felt  sure,  was  Mary  Surratt.  The 
house  had  of  course  been  Mary  Surratt’s  true  home,  her 
only  safe  harbor.  The  one  she  later  owned  in  Washington 
was  merely  a temporary  and  unsafe  abode.  Mightn’t  she 
have  been  drawn  back  here  after  her  unjust  execution  to 
seek  justice,  or  at  the  very  least  to  be  among  surroundings 
she  was  familiar  with? 

The  floating  woman  returned  several  times  more,  and 
ultimately  young  Phyllis  was  to  have  an  experience  herself. 
It  was  in  April  of  1955  and  she  was  in  bed  in  her  room, 
wide  awake.  Her  bed  stood  parallel  to  the  room  where  the 
conspirators  used  to  meet,  separated  from  it  only  by  a thin 
wall,  so  that  she  might  have  heard  them  talk  had  she  been 
present  at  the  time.  Suddenly,  she  received  several  blows 
on  the  side  of  her  face.  They  were  so  heavy  that  they 
brought  tears  to  her  eyes.  Were  the  ghosts  of  the  conspira- 
tors trying  to  discourage  her  from  eavesdropping  on  their 
plans? 

Both  Phyllis  and  her  mother  have  had  ESP  experi- 
ences all  their  lives,  ranging  from  premonitions  to  true 
dreams  and  other  forms  of  precognition. 

I decided  to  contact  the  present  owner  and  ask  for 
permission  to  visit  with  a good  medium.  Thomas  Miller, 
whose  parents  had  owned  the  Surratt  tavern  and  who  now 
managed  it  prior  to  having  it  restored,  at  great  cost,  to  the 
condition  it  was  in  a hundred  years  ago,  readily  assented. 

So  it  was  that  on  a very  chilly  day  in  November  of  1967, 
Sybil  Leek  and  I flew  down  to  Washington  for  a look  at 


the  ghosts  around  John  Wilkes  Booth:  If  I couldn’t  inter- 
view the  victim,  Lincoln,  perhaps  I could  have  a go  at  the 
murderer? 

A friend,  Countess  Gertrude  d’Amecourt,  volun- 
teered to  drive  us  to  Clinton.  The  directions  the  Millers 
had  given  us  were  not  too  clear,  so  it  took  us  twice  as  long 
as  it  should  have  to  get  there.  I think  we  must  have  taken 
the  wrong  turn  off  the  highway  at  least  six  times  and  in  the 
end  got  to  know  them  all  well,  but  got  no  nearer  to  Clinton. 
Finally  we  were  stopped  by  a little  old  woman  who 
wanted  to  hitch  a ride  with  us.  Since  she  was  going  in  the 
same  direction,  we  let  her  come  with  us,  and  thanks  to  her 
we  eventually  found  Miller’s  supermarket,  about  two  hours 
later  than  planned.  But  ghosts  are  not  in  a hurry,  even 
though  Gertrude  had  to  get  back  to  her  real  estate  office, 
and  within  minutes  we  set  out  on  foot  to  the  old  Surratt 
tavern,  located  only  a few  blocks  from  the  supermarket. 
Phyllis  Amos  had  come  down  from  Pennsylvania  to  join 
us,  and  as  the  wind  blew  harder  and  harder  and  our  teeth 
began  to  chatter  louder  and  louder  in  the  unseasonable 
chill  of  the  late  afternoon,  we  pushed  open  the  dusty,  pad- 
locked door  of  the  tavern,  and  our  adventure  into  the  past 
began. 

Before  I had  a chance  to  ask  Sybil  Leek  to  wait  until 
I could  put  my  tape  recording  equipment  into  operating 
condition,  she  had  dashed  past  us  and  was  up  the  stairs  as 
if  she  knew  where  she  was  headed.  She  didn't,  of  course, 
for  she  had  no  idea  why  she  had  been  brought  here  or 
indeed  where  she  was.  All  of  us — the  Millers,  Phyllis, 
Gertrude  d’Amecourt,  and  myself — ran  up  the  stairs  after 
Sybil.  We  found  her  staring  at  the  floor  in  what  used  to  be 
the  John  Wilkes  Booth  bedroom.  Staring  at  the  hole  in  the 
floor  where  the  guns  had  been  hidden,  she  mumbled  some- 
thing about  things  being  hidden  there. . . not  budging  from 
the  spot.  Thomas  Miller,  who  had  maintained  a smug, 
skeptical  attitude  about  the  whole  investigation  until  now, 
shook  his  head  and  mumbled,  "But  how  would  she  know?” 

It  was  getting  pretty  dark  now  and  there  was  no  elec- 
tric light  in  the  house.  The  smells  were  pretty  horrible,  too, 
as  the  house  had  been  empty  for  years,  with  neighborhood 
hoodlums  and  drunks  using  it  for  "parties”  or  to  sleep  off 
drunken  sprees.  There  is  always  a broken  back  window  in 
those  old  houses,  and  they  manage  to  get  in. 

We  were  surrounding  Sybil  now  and  shivering  in 
unison.  “This  place  is  different  from  the  rest  of  the  house,” 
Sybil  explained,  “cold,  dismal  atmosphere. . . this  is  where 
something  happened.” 

"What  sort  of  thing  do  you  think  happened  here?” 

"A  chase.” 

How  right  she  was!  The  two  hunted  men  were  indeed 
on  a chase  from  Washington,  trying  to  escape  to  the  South. 
But  again,  Sybil  would  not  know  this  consciously. 

“This  is  where  someone  was  a fugitive,”  she  contin- 
ued now,  "for  several  days,  but  he  left  this  house  and  went 
to  the  woodland.” 


Booth  hiding  out  in  the  woods  for  several  days  after 
passing  the  tavern! 

“Who  is  the  man?”  I asked,  for  I was  not  at  all  sure 
who  she  was  referring  to.  There  were  several  men  con- 
nected with  “the  chase,”  and  for  all  we  knew,  it  could  have 
been  a total  stranger  somehow  tied  up  with  the  tavern. 

Lots  of  dramatic  happenings  attach  themselves  to  old  tav- 
erns, which  were  far  cries  from  Hilton  hotels.  People  got 
killed  or  waylaid  in  those  days,  and  taverns,  on  the  whole, 
had  sordid  reputations.  The  good  people  stayed  at  each 
other’s  homes  when  traveling. 

"Foreign  . . . can’t  get  the  name  . . . hiding  for  several 
days  here  . . . then  there  is  ...  a brother  ...  it  is  very 
confusing.” 

* * * 

The  foreigner  might  well  have  been  Atzerodt,  who 
was  indeed  hiding  at  the  tavern  at  various  times.  And  the 
brother? 

* * * 

“A  man  died  suddenly,  violently.”  Sybil  took  up  the 
impressions  she  seemed  to  be  getting  now  with  more 
depth.  We  were  still  standing  around  in  the  upstairs  room, 

near  the  window,  with  the  gaping  hole  in  the  floor. 

“How  did  he  die?”  I inquired. 

“Trapped  in  the  woods. . . hiding  from  soldiers,  I 
think.” 

That  would  only  fit  Booth.  He  was  trapped  in  the 
woods  and  killed  by  soldiers. 

“Why?” 

“They  were  chasing  him. . . he  killed  someone.” 

“Who  did  he  kill?” 

“I  don’t  know. . .birthday . . .ran  away  to  hide. . .1  see 
a paper. . .invitation. . .there  is  another  place  we  have  to  go 
to,  a big  place. . .a  big  building  with  a gallery. . .” 

Was  she  perhaps  describing  Ford’s  Theatre  now? 

“Whose  place  is  it?”  I asked. 

Sybil  was  falling  more  and  more  under  the  spell  of 
the  place,  and  her  consciousness  bordered  now  on  the 
trance  state. 

“No  one’s  place. . .to  see  people. ..I’m  confused. . . 
lot  of  people  go  there. . .watching. . .a  gathering. . .with 
music.  ..I’m  not  going  there!!” 

* * * 

“Who  is  there?”  I interjected.  She  must  be  referring 
to  the  theater,  all  right.  Evidently  what  Sybil  was  getting 
here  was  the  entire  story,  but  jumbled  as  psychic  impres- 
sions often  are,  since  they  do  not  obey  the  ordinary  laws  of 
time  and  space. 

“My  brother  and  I,”  she  said  now.  I had  gently  led 
her  toward  another  corner  of  the  large  room  where  a small 

Assassination  of  a President: 

Lincoln,  Booth,  and  the  Traitors  Within 

107 


chair  stood,  in  the  hope  of  having  her  sit  in  it.  But  she  was 
already  too  deeply  entranced  to  do  it,  so  I let  her  lean 
toward  the  chair,  keeping  careful  watch  so  she  would  not 
topple  over. 

“My  brother  is  mad. . she  said  now,  and  her  voice 
was  no  longer  the  same,  but  had  taken  on  a harder,  metallic 
sound.  I later  wondered  about  this  remark:  Was  this 
Edwin  Booth,  talking  about  his  renegade  brother  John  who 
was  indeed  considered  mad  by  many  of  his  contempo- 
raries? Edwin  Booth  frequently  appeared  at  Ford’s  Theatre, 
and  so  did  John  Wilkes  Booth. 

"Why  is  he  mad?”  I said.  I decided  to  continue  the 
questioning  as  if  I were  agreeing  with  all  she — or  he — was 
saying,  in  order  to  elicit  more  information. 

* * * 

"Madman  in  the  family . . . , ” Sybil  said  now,  “killed 
— a — friend. . ..” 

“Whom  did  he  kill?” 

“No  names. ..he  was  mad. ...” 

"Would  I know  the  person  he  killed?” 

“Everybody — knows. ...” 

“What  is  your  brother’s  name?” 

“John.” 

“What  is  your  name?” 

"Rory.” 

At  first  it  occurred  to  me  this  might  be  the  name  of  a 
character  Edwin  Booth  had  played  on  the  stage  and  he  was 
hiding  behind  it,  if  indeed  it  was  Edwin  Booth  who  was 
giving  Sybil  this  information.  But  I have  not  found  such  a 
character  in  the  biographies  of  Edwin  Booth.  I decided  to 
press  further  by  reiterating  my  original  question. 

"Whom  did  John  kill?” 

An  impatient,  almost  impertinent  voice  replied,  "I 
won’t  tell  you.  You  can  read!” 

“What  are  you  doing  in  this  house?” 

"Helping  J ohn . . . escape ....’’ 

"Are  you  alone?” 

“No...  Trevor....” 

"How  many  of  you  are  there  here?” 

"Four.” 

"Who  are  the  others?” 

“Traitors....” 

"But  what  are  their  names?” 

"Trevor. . .Michael. . .John. . ..” 

These  names  caused  me  some  concern  afterward:  I 
could  identify  Michael  readily  enough  as  Michael 
O’Laughlin,  school  chum  of  Booth,  who  worked  as  a livery 
stable  worker  in  Baltimore  before  he  joined  forces  with  his 
friend.  Michael  O’Laughlin  was  one  of  the  conspirators, 
who  was  eventually  sentenced  to  life  imprisonment.  But  on 
Stanton’s  orders  he  and  the  other  three  “lesser”  conspira- 
tors were  sent  to  the  Dry  Tortugas,  America’s  own  version 


CHAPTER  FIVE:  Famous  Ghosts 
108 


of  Devil’s  Island,  off  Florida,  and  it  was  there  that  Michael 
O’Laughlin  died  of  yellow  fever  in  1868. 

* * * 

John?  Since  the  communicator  had  referred  to  his 
brother’s  name  as  John,  I could  only  surmise  this  to  mean 
John  Wilkes  Booth.  But  Trevor  I could  not  identify.  The 
only  conspirator  whose  middle  name  we  did  not  know  was 
Samuel  Arnold,  also  an  ex-classmate  of  Booth.  Was  Trevor 
perhaps  the  familiar  name  by  which  the  conspirators 
referred  to  this  Maryland  farmhand  and  Confederate 
deserter? 

I pressed  the  point  further  with  Sybil. 

“Who  is  in  the  house?” 

“Go  away ” 

I explained  my  mission:  to  help  them  all  find  peace 
of  mind,  freedom,  deliverance. 

“I'm  going  to  the  city — ” the  communicator  said. 

"Which  city?” 

"The  big  city.” 

“Why?” 

"To  stop  him. . .he’s  mad. . .take  him  away. . .to  the 
country  to  rest. . .to  help  him. . .give  him  rest. ...” 

“Has  he  done  anything  wrong?” 

“He. . .he’s  my  brother!" 

“Did  he  kill  anyone?” 

“Killed  that  man. ...” 

“Why  did  he  kill  him?” 

Shouting  at  me,  the  entranced  medium  said,  “He  was 
unjust!” 

"Toward  whom?” 

“He  was  unjust  toward  the  Irish  people.” 

Strange  words,  I thought.  Only  Michael  O’Laughlin 
could  be  considered  a "professional”  Irishman  among  the 
conspirators,  and  one  could  scarcely  accuse  Lincoln  of  hav- 
ing mistreated  the  Irish. 

“What  did  he  do?”  I demanded  to  know. 

"He  did  nothing.. ..” 

"Why  did  he  kill  him  then?” 

“He  was  mad.” 

“Do  you  approve  of  it?” 

“Yes! ! He  did  not  like  him  because  he  was  unjust. . . 
the  law  was  wrong. . .his  laws  were  wrong. . .free  people. . .he 
was  confused....” 

Now  if  this  were  indeed  Edwin  Booth’s  spirit  talking, 
he  would  most  certainly  not  have  approved  of  the  murder. 
The  resentment  for  the  sake  of  the  Irish  minority  could 
only  have  come  from  Michael  O’Laughlin.  But  the  entity 
kept  referring  to  his  brother,  and  only  Edwin  Booth  had  a 
brother  named  John,  connected  with  this  house  and  story! 
The  trance  session  grew  more  and  more  confusing. 

"Who  else  was  in  this?”  I started  again.  Perhaps  we 
could  get  more  information  on  the  people  behind  the  plot. 
After  all,  we  already  knew  the  actual  murderer  and  his 
accomplices. 

“Trevor... four....” 


“Did  you  get  an  order  from  someone  to  do  this?” 

There  was  a long  pause  as  the  fully  entranced  psychic 
kept  swaying  a little,  with  eyes  closed,  in  front  of  the  rick- 
ety old  chair. 

I explained  again  why  I had  come,  but  it  did  not 
help.  "I  don’t  believe  you,”  the  entity  said  in  great  agita- 
tion, “Traitors....” 

“You’ve  long  been  forgiven,”  1 said,  “but  you  must 
speak  freely  about  it  now.  What  happened  to  the  man  he 
killed?” 

“My  brother — became — famous. . . .” 

This  was  followed  by  bitter  laughter. 

“What  sort  of  work  did  your  brother  do?” 

“ Writing ...  acting ....  ” 

“Where  did  he  act?” 

“Go  away. . .don’t  search  for  me. ...” 

“I  want  to  help  you.” 

"Traitor.  ..shot  like  a dog. . .the  madman. . ..” 

Sybil’s  face  trembled  now  as  tears  streamed  freely 
from  her  eyes.  Evidently  she  was  reliving  the  final  mo- 
ments of  Booth’s  agony.  I tried  to  calm  the  communicator. 

“Goaway...”  the  answer  came,  “goaway!” 

But  I continued  the  questioning.  Did  anyone  put  him 
up  to  the  deed? 

“He  was  mad,”  the  entity  explained,  a little  calmer 

now. 

“But  who  is  guilty?” 

“The  Army.” 

“Who  in  the  Army?” 

“He  was  wild. . .met  people. . .they  said  they  were 
Army  people . . . Major  General ...  Gee ...  I ought  to  go 
now!!” 

Several  things  struck  me  when  I went  over  this  con- 
versation afterward.  To  begin  with,  the  communicator  felt 
he  had  said  too  much  as  soon  as  he  had  mentioned  the  per- 
son of  Major  General  Gee,  or  G.,  and  wanted  to  leave. 
Why?  Was  this  something  he  should  have  kept  secret? 

Major  General  G.?  Could  this  refer  to  Grant?  Up  to 
March  1864  Grant  was  indeed  a major  general;  after  that 
time  Lincoln  raised  him  to  the  rank  of  lieutenant  general. 
The  thought  seemed  monstrous  on  the  face  of  it,  that 
Grant  could  in  any  way  be  involved  with  a plot  against 
Lincoln.  Politically,  this  seemed  unlikely,  because  both 
Grant  and  Lincoln  favored  the  moderate  treatment  of  the 
conquered  South  as  against  the  radicals,  who  demanded 
stern  measures.  Stanton  was  a leading  radical,  and  if  any- 
one he  would  have  had  a reason  to  plot  against  Lincoln. 
And  yet,  by  all  appearances,  he  served  him  loyally  and 
well.  But  Grant  had  political  aspirations  of  a personal 
nature,  and  he  succeeded  Lincoln  after  Johnson’s  unhappy 
administration. 

I decided  to  pursue  my  line  of  questioning  further  to 
see  where  it  might  lead. 

I asked  Sybil’s  controlling  entity  to  repeat  the  name 
of  this  Army  general.  Faintly  but  clear  enough  it  came 
from  her  entranced  lips: 


" Gee ...  G - E - E - ...  Maj  or  General  Robert  Gee . ” 

Then  it  wasn't  Grant,  I thought.  But  who  in  blazes 
was  it?  If  there  existed  such  a person  I could  find  a record, 
but  what  “if  it  was  merely  a cover  name?” 

“Did  you  see  this  man  yourself?” 

“No.” 

“Then  did  your  brother  tell  you  about  him?” 

“Yes.” 

“Where  did  they  meet?” 

Hesitatingly,  the  reply  came. 

“In  the  city.  This  city.  In  a club. ...” 

I decided  to  change  my  approach. 

“What  year  is  this?”  I shot  at  him. 

“Forty-nine.” 

“What  does  forty-nine  mean  to  you?" 

“Forty-nine  means  something  important. ...” 

“How  old  are  you  now?” 

“Thirty-four.” 

He  then  claimed  to  have  been  born  in  Lowell,  Vir- 
ginia, and  I found  myself  as  puzzled  as  ever:  It  did  not  fit 
Edwin,  who  was  born  in  1833  on  the  Booth  homestead  at 
Belair,  Maryland.  Confusion  over  confusion! 

“Did  anyone  else  but  the  four  of  you  come  here?”  I 
finally  asked. 

"Yes. . .Major. . .Robert  Gee. ...” 

"What  did  he  want?” 

"Bribery.” 

“What  did  he  pay?” 

“I  don’t  know.” 

“Did  he  give  him  any  money?” 

"Yes." 

"What  was  he  supposed  to  do?” 

“Cause  a disturbance.  In  the  gallery.  Then  plans 
would  be  put  into  operation.  To  hold  up  the  law.” 

“Did  your  brother  do  what  he  was  supposed  to  do?” 

“He  was  mad. . .he  killed  him.” 

“Then  who  was  guilty?” 

“Gee. ...” 

“Who  sent  Gee?  For  whom  did  he  speak?” 

We  were  getting  close  to  the  heart  of  the  matter  and 
the  others  were  grouping  themselves  closely  around  us,  the 
better  to  hear.  It  was  quite  dark  outside  and  the  chill  of  the 
November  afternoon  crept  into  our  bones  with  the  result 
that  we  started  to  tremble  with  the  wet  cold.  But  nobody 
moved  or  showed  impatience.  American  history  was  being 
relived,  and  what  did  a little  chill  matter  in  comparison? 

“He  surveyed. 

“Who  worked  with  him?” 

“The  government.” 

“Who  specifically?” 

“I  don’t  know.” 

It  did  not  sound  convincing.  Was  he  still  holding  out 
on  us? 

Assassination  of  a President: 

Lincoln,  Booth,  and  the  Traitors  Within 

109 


“Were  there  others  involved?  Other  men?  Other 
women?” 

A derisive  laughter  broke  the  stillness. 

“Jealous. . .jealousy. . .his  wife. ...” 

“Whose  wife?” 

“The  one  who  was  killed. . .shot.” 

* * * 

That  I found  rather  interesting,  for  it  is  a historical 
fact  that  Mrs.  Lincoln  was  extremely  jealous  and,  accord- 
ing to  Carl  Sandburg,  perhaps  the  most  famous  Lincoln 
biographer,  never  permitted  her  husband  to  see  a woman 
alone — for  any  reason  whatever.  The  Lincolns  had  fre- 
quent spats  for  that  reason,  and  jealousy  was  a key  charac- 
teristic of  the  President’s  wife. 

“Why  are  we  in  this  room?”  I demanded. 

“Waiting  for. . .what  am  I waiting  for?”  the  commu- 
nicator said,  in  a voice  filled  with  despair. 

"I’d  like  to  know  that  myself,”  I nodded.  “Is  there 
anything  of  interest  for  you  here?” 

“Yes. . .1  have  to  stay  here  until  John  comes  back. 
Where’s  John?” 

“And  what  will  you  do  when  he  comes  back?” 

“Take  him  to  Lowell. . .my  home. ...” 

“Whom  do  you  live  with  there?” 

“Julia. . .my  girl. . .take  him  to  rest  there.” 

“Where  is  John  now?” 

"In  the  woods. . .hiding.” 

“Is  anyone  with  him?” 

"Two. . .they  should  be  back  soon.” 

Again  the  entity  demanded  to  know  why  I was  asking 
all  those  questions  and  again  I reassured  him  that  I was  a 
friend.  But  I have  to  know  everything  in  order  to  help  him. 
Who  then  was  this  Major  General  Gee? 

“Wants  control,”  the  voice  said,  "1  don't  understand 
the  Army. . .politics. . .he’s  altering  the  government. ...” 

"Altering  the  government?”  I repeated,  “On  whose 
side  is  he?” 

"Insurgent  side.” 

“Is  he  in  the  U.  S.  Government?” 

“My  brother  knows  them. . .they  have  the 
government.” 

"But  who  are  they?  What  are  their  names?” 

“They  had  numbers.  Forty-nine.  It  means  the  area. 
The  area  they  look  after.” 

"Is  anyone  in  the  government  involved  with  these 
insurgents?” 

“John  knows. . .John’s  dead. . .knew  too  much. . .the 
names. . .he  wasn’t  all. ..he’s  mad!” 

“Who  killed  him?” 

"Soldier.” 

“Why  did  he  kill  him?”  I was  now  referring  to  John 
Wilkes  Booth  and  the  killing  of  the  presidential  assassin  by 


CHAPTER  FIVE:  Famous  Ghosts 


Sergeant  Boston  Corbett,  allegedly  because  “God  told  him 
to,”  as  the  record  states. 

“Hunted  him.” 

“But  who  gave  the  order  to  kill  him?” 

“The  government.” 

“You  say,  he  knew  too  much.  What  did  he  know?” 

“I  don’t  know  the  names,  I know  only  I wait  for 
John.  John  knows  the  names.  He  was  clever.” 

“Was  anyone  in  this  government  involved?” 

“Traitors. . .in  the  head  of  the  Army.. . . Sher. . .must 
not  tell  you,  John  said  not  to  speak. ...” 

“You  must  speak!”  I commanded,  almost  shouting. 

"Sherman. . .Colonel. . .he  knows  Sherman. . . . John 
says  to  say  nothing 

"Does  Sherman  know  about  it?” 

“I  don’t  know.  ..I  am  not  telling  you  any  more. 
he  said,  trembling  again  with  tears,  “Everybody  asks  ques- 
tions. You  are  not  helping  me.” 

“I  will  try  to  help  you  if  you  don’t  hold  back,”  I 
promised.  "Who  paid  your  brother?” 

“Nothing. . .promised  to  escape. . .look  after 
him... promised  a ticket....” 

“How  often  did  your  brother  see  this  officer?” 

“Not  too  often.  Here.  John  told  me. . .some  things. 
John  said  not  to  talk.  He  is  not  always  mad.” 

“Who  is  the  woman  with  him?”  I tried  to  see  if  it 
would  trick  him  into  talking  about  others. 

“She's  a friend,”  the  communicator  said  without 
hesitation. 

“What  is  her  name?” 

"Harriet.” 

“Where  does  she  live?” 

"In  the  city.” 

"How  does  he  know  her?” 

“He  went  to  play  there. . .he  liked  her. . 

Evidently  this  was  some  minor  figure  of  no  impor- 
tance to  the  plot.  I changed  directions  again.  “You  are  free 
to  leave  here  now,  John  wants  you  to  go,”  I said,  slowly. 
After  all,  I could  not  let  this  poor  soul,  whoever  he  was, 
hang  on  here  for  all  eternity! 

"Where  are  we?”  he  asked,  sounding  as  confused  as 

ever. 

“A  house....” 

"My  house?... No,  Melville’s  house....” 

“Who  is  Melville?” 

"Friend  of  Gee.  Told  me  to  come  here,  wait  for 
John.” 

“You  are  free  to  go,  free!”  I intoned. 

“Free?”  he  said  slowly.  “Free  country?” 

“A  hundred  years  have  gone  by.  Do  you  understand 

me?” 

“No.” 

The  voice  became  weaker  as  if  the  entity  were  drift- 
ing away.  Gradually  Sybil’s  body  seemed  to  collapse  and  I 
was  ready  to  catch  her,  should  she  fall.  But  in  time  she 
“came  back”  to  herself.  Awakening,  as  if  she  had  slept  a 


110 


long  time,  she  looked  around  herself,  as  completely  con- 
fused as  the  entity  had  been.  She  remembered  absolutely 
nothing  of  the  conversation  between  the  ghost  and  myself. 

For  a moment  none  of  us  said  anything.  The  silence 
was  finally  broken  by  Thomas  Miller,  who  seemed  visibly 
impressed  with  the  entire  investigation.  He  knew  very  well 
that  the  hole  in  the  floor  was  a matter  he  was  apt  to  point 
out  to  visitors  in  the  house,  and  that  no  visitors  had  come 
here  in  a long  time,  as  the  house  had  been  in  disrepair  for 
several  years.  How  could  this  strange  woman  with  the  Eng- 
lish accent  whom  he  had  never  met  before  in  his  life,  or  for 
that  matter,  how  could  I,  a man  he  only  knew  by  corre- 
spondence, know  about  it?  And  how  could  she  head 
straight  for  the  spot  in  the  semi-darkness  of  an  unlit  house? 
That  was  the  wedge  that  opened  the  door  to  his  acceptance 
of  what  he  had  witnessed  just  now. 

* * * 

“It’s  cold,”  Sybil  murmured,  and  wrapped  herself 
deeper  into  her  black  shawl.  But  she  has  always  been  a 
good  sport,  and  did  not  complain.  Patiently,  she  waited 
further  instructions  from  me.  I decided  it  was  time  to 
introduce  everybody  formally  now,  as  I had  of  course  not 
done  so  on  arrival  in  order  to  avoid  Sybil’s  picking  up  any 
information  or  clues. 

Phyllis  Amos  then  showed  us  the  spot  where  she  had 
been  hit  by  unseen  hands,  and  pointed  out  the  area  where 
her  younger  sister  Lynn,  seven  at  the  time  and  now  nine- 
teen, had  heard  the  voices  of  a group  of  men  whom  she 
had  also  seen  huddled  together  on  the  back  stairs. 

"I  too  thought  I heard  voices  here,”  Phyllis  Amos 
commented.  "It  sounded  like  the  din  of  several  voices  but  I 
couldn’t  make  it  out  clearly.” 

I turned  to  Thomas  Miller,  who  was  bending  down 
now  toward  the  hole  in  the  floor. 

“This  is  where  John  Wilkes  Booth  hid  his  guns,”  he 
said,  anticlimactically.  “The  innkeeper,  Lloyd,  also  gave 
him  some  brandy,  and  then  he  rode  on  to  where  Dr.  Mudd 
had  his  house  in  Bryan  town.” 

“You  heard  the  conversation  that  came  through  my 
psychic  friend,  Mr.  Miller,”  I said.  “Do  you  care  to  com- 
ment on  some  of  the  names?  For  instance,  did  John  Wilkes 
Booth  have  a brother  along  those  lines?” 

“My  father  bought  this  property  from  John  Wilkes’ 
brother,”  Miller  said,  “the  brother  who  went  to  live  in  Bal- 
timore after  John  Wilkes  was  killed;  later  he  went  to 
England.” 

That,  of  course,  would  be  Edwin  Booth,  the  "Prince 
of  Players,”  who  followed  his  sister  Asia’s  advice  to  try  his 
luck  in  the  English  theater. 

* * * 

I found  this  rather  interesting.  So  Surratt’s  tavern  had 
once  belonged  to  Edwin  Booth — finger  of  fate! 

Mr.  Miller  pointed  out  something  else  of  interest  to 
me.  While  I had  been  changing  tapes,  during  the  interro- 


gation of  the  communicator  speaking  through  Sybil,  I had 
missed  a sentence  or  two.  My  question  had  been  about  the 
ones  behind  the  killing. 

“S-T-.. .”  the  communicator  had  whispered.  Did  it 
mean  Stanton? 

“John  Wilkes  Booth  was  very  familiar  with  this 
place,  of  course,”  Miller  said  in  his  Maryland  drawl.  "This 
is  where  the  conspirators  used  to  meet  many  times.  Mary 
Surratt  ran  this  place  as  a tavern.  Nothing  has  changed  in 
this  house  since  then.” 

* * * 

From  Thomas  Miller  I also  learned  that  plans  were 
afoot  to  restore  the  house  at  considerable  cost,  and  to  make 
it  into  a museum. 

* * * 

We  thanked  our  host  and  piled  into  the  car.  Sud- 
denly I remembered  that  I had  forgotten  my  briefcase 
inside  the  house,  so  I raced  back  and  recovered  it.  The 
house  was  now  even  colder  and  emptier,  and  I wondered  if 
I might  hear  anything  unusual — but  I didn’t.  Rather  than 
hang  around  any  longer,  I joined  the  others  in  the  car  and 
we  drove  back  to  Washington. 

I asked  Countess  d’Amecourt  to  stop  once  more  at  a 
house  I felt  might  have  some  relationship  with  the  case. 
Sybil,  of  course,  had  no  idea  why  we  got  out  to  look  at  an 
old  house  on  H Street.  It  is  now  a Chinese  restaurant  and 
offers  no  visible  clues  to  its  past. 

“I  feel  military  uniforms,  blue  colors  here,”  Sybil  said 
as  we  all  shuddered  in  the  cold  wind  outside.  The  house 
was  locked  and  looked  empty.  My  request  to  visit  it  had 
never  been  answered. 

"What  period?” 

“Perhaps  a hundred  years. . .nothing  very  strong 
here. . .the  initial  S. ..a  man. . .rather  confusing.. .a  meet- 
ing place  more  than  a residence. . .not  too 
respectable. . .meeting  house  for  soldiers. . .Army. ...” 

"Is  there  a link  between  this  house  and  where  we 
went  earlier  this  afternoon?” 

“The  Army  is  the  link  somehow. ...” 

* * * 

After  I had  thanked  the  Countess  d’Amecourt  for  her 
help,  Sybil  and  I flew  back  to  New  York. 

For  days  afterward  I pondered  the  questions  arising 
from  this  expedition.  Was  the  “S”  linking  the  house  on  H 
Street — which  was  Mary  Surratt’s  Washington  boarding 
house — the  same  man  as  the  "S-T- ...  ” Sybil  had  whis- 
pered to  me  at  Mary  Surratt’s  former  country  house?  Were 
both  initials  referring  to  Secretary  Stanton  and  were  the 
rumors  true  after  all? 


Assassination  of  a President: 
Lincoln,  Booth,  and  the  Traitors  Within 

111 


* * * 

The  facts  of  history,  in  this  respect,  are  significant. 
Lincoln’s  second  term  was  actively  opposed  by  the  forces 
of  the  radical  Republicans.  They  thought  Lincoln  too  soft 
on  the  rebels  and  feared  that  he  would  make  an  easy  peace 
with  the  Confederacy.  They  were  quite  right  in  this 
assumption,  of  course,  and  all  through  Lincoln’s  second 
term  of  office,  his  intent  was  clear.  That  is  why,  in  mur- 
dering Abraham  Lincoln,  Booth  actually  did  the  South  a 
great  disservice. 

In  the  spring  of  1864,  when  the  South  seemed  to  be 
on  its  last  legs,  the  situation  in  Washington  also  came  to  a 
point  where  decisions  would  have  to  be  made  soon.  The 
“hawks,"  to  use  a contemporary  term,  could  count  on  the 
services  of  Stanton,  the  War  Secretary,  and  of  Seward,  Sec- 
retary of  State,  plus  many  lesser  officials  and  officers,  of 
course.  The  “doves”  were  those  in  actual  command,  how- 
ever— Lincoln  himself,  Grant,  and  Vice  President  Johnson, 
himself  a Southerner.  Logically,  the  time  of  crisis  would  be 
at  hand  the  moment  Grant  had  won  victory  in  his  com- 
mand and  Sherman,  the  other  great  commander,  on  his  end 
of  the  front.  By  a strange  set  of  circumstances,  the  assassi- 
nation took  place  precisely  at  that  moment:  Both  Grant 
and  Sherman  had  eminently  succeeded  and  peace  was  at 
hand. 

* * * 

Whenever  Booth's  motive  in  killing  Lincoln  has  been 
described  by  biographers,  a point  is  made  that  it  was  both 
Booth’s  madness  and  his  attempt  to  avenge  the  South  that 
caused  him  to  commit  the  crime.  Quite  so,  but  the  assassi- 
nation made  a lot  more  sense  in  terms  of  a northern  plot  by 
conveniently  removing  the  chief  advocate  of  a soft  peace 
treaty  just  at  the  right  moment! 

This  was  not  a trifling  matter.  Lincoln  had  proposed 
to  go  beyond  freeing  the  slaves:  to  franchise  the  more  intel- 
ligent ones  among  them  to  vote.  But  he  had  never  envi- 
sioned general  and  immediate  equality  of  newly  freed 
blacks  and  their  former  masters.  To  the  radicals,  however, 
this  was  an  absolute  must  as  was  the  total  takeover  of 
southern  assets.  While  Lincoln  was  only  too  ready  to 
accept  any  southern  state  back  into  the  Union  fold  that  was 
willing  to  take  the  oath  of  loyalty,  the  radicals  would  hear 
of  no  such  thing.  They  foresaw  a long  period  of  military 
government  and  rigid  punishment  for  the  secessionist 
states. 

Lincoln  often  expressed  the  hope  that  Jefferson  Davis 
and  his  chief  aides  might  just  leave  the  country  to  save  him 
the  embarrassment  of  having  to  try  them.  Stanton  and  his 
group,  on  the  other  hand,  were  pining  for  blood,  and  it  was 
on  Stanton’s  direct  orders  that  the  southern  conspirators 
who  killed  Lincoln  were  shown  no  mercy;  it  was  Stanton 
who  refused  to  give  in  to  popular  sentiment  against  the 

CHAPTER  FIVE^Famous  Ghosts 
112 


hanging  of  a woman  and  who  insisted  that  Mrs.  Surratt 
share  the  fate  of  the  other  principal  conspirators. 

Stanton’s  stance  at  Lincoln’s  death — his  remark  that 
“now  he  belongs  to  the  ages”  and  his  vigorous  pursuit  of 
the  murderers  in  no  way  mitigates  a possible  secret 
involvement  in  a plot  to  kill  the  President.  According  to 
Stefan  Lorant,  he  once  referred  to  his  commander -in -chief 
Lincoln  as  “the  original  gorilla.”  He  frequently  refused  to 
carry  out  Lincoln’s  orders  when  he  thought  them  “too 
soft.”  On  April  11,  three  days  prior  to  the  assassination, 
Lincoln  had  incurred  not  only  Stanton’s  anger  but  that  of 
the  entire  Cabinet  by  arranging  to  allow  the  rebel  Virginia 
legislature  to  function  as  a state  government.  “Stanton  and 
the  others  were  in  a fury,”  Carl  Sandburg  reports,  and  the 
uproar  was  so  loud  Lincoln  did  not  go  through  with  his 
intent.  But  it  shows  the  deep  cleavage  that  existed  between 
the  liberal  President  and  his  radical  government  on  the 
very  eve  of  his  last  day! 

* * * 

Then,  too,  there  was  the  trial  held  in  a hurry  and 
under  circumstances  no  modern  lawyer  would  call  proper 
or  even  constitutional.  Evidence  was  presented  in  part, 
important  documents — such  as  Booth’s  own  diary — were 
arbitrarily  suppressed  and  kept  out  of  the  trial  by  order  of 
Secretary  Stanton,  who  also  had  impounded  Booth’s  per- 
sonal belongings  and  any  and  all  documents  seized  at  the 
Surratt  house  on  H Street,  giving  defense  attorneys  for  the 
accused,  especially  Mrs.  Mary  Surratt,  not  the  slightest 
opportunity  to  build  a reasonable  defense  for  their  clients. 

That  was  as  it  should  be,  from  Stanton’s  point  of 
view:  fanning  the  popular  hatred  by  letting  the  conspirators 
appear  in  as  unfavorable  a light  as  possible,  a quick  convic- 
tion and  execution  of  the  judgment,  so  that  no  sympathy 
could  rise  among  the  public  for  the  accused.  There  was 
considerable  oppostion  to  the  hanging  of  Mrs.  Surratt,  and 
committees  demanding  her  pardon  were  indeed  formed. 
But  by  the  time  these  committees  were  able  to  function 
properly,  the  lady  was  dead,  convicted  on  purely  circum- 
stantial evidence:  Her  house  had  been  the  meeting  place  for 
the  conspirators,  but  it  was  never  proven  that  she  was  part 
of  the  conspiracy.  In  fact,  she  disapproved  of  the  murder 
plot,  according  to  the  condemned,  but  the  government 
would  not  accept  this  view.  Her  own  son  John  H.  Surratt, 
sitting  the  trial  out  in  Canada,  never  lifted  a hand  to  save 
his  mother — perhaps  he  thought  Stanton  would  not  dare 
execute  her. 

* * * 

Setting  aside  for  the  moment  the  identity  of  the  spirit 
communicator  at  the  Surratt  tavern,  1 examined  certain 
aspects  of  this  new  material:  Certainly  Sherman  himself 
could  not  have  been  part  of  an  anti-Lincoln  plot,  for  he 
was  a “dove,”  strictly  a Lincoln  man.  But  a member  of  his 
staff — perhaps  the  mysterious  colonel — might  well  have 
been  involved.  Sybil’s  communicator  had  stated  that  Booth 


knew  all  about  those  Army  officers  who  were  either  using 
him  or  were  in  league  with  him,  making,  in  fact,  the  assas- 
sination a dual  plot  of  southern  avengers  and  northern 
hawks.  If  Booth  knew  these  names,  he  might  have  put  the 
information  into  his  personal  diary.  This  diary  was  written 
during  his  fight,  while  he  was  hiding  from  his  pursuers  in 
the  wooded  swamplands  of  Maryland  and  Virginia. 

At  the  conspiracy  trial,  the  diary  was  not  even  men- 
tioned, but  at  the  subsequent  trial  of  John  H.  Surratt,  two 
years  later,  it  did  come  to  light.  That  is,  Lafayette  Baker, 
head  of  the  Secret  Service  at  the  time  of  the  murder,  men- 
tioned its  existence,  and  it  was  promptly  impounded  for 
the  trial.  But  when  it  was  produced  as  evidence  in  court, 
only  two  pages  were  left  in  it — the  rest  had  been  torn  out 
by  an  unknown  hand!  Eighteen  pages  were  missing.  The 
diary  had  been  in  Stanton’s  possession  from  the  moment  of 
its  seizure  until  now,  and  it  was  highly  unlikely  that  Booth 
himself  had  so  mutilated  his  own  diary  the  moment  he  had 
finished  writing  it!  To  the  contrary,  the  diary  was  his 
attempt  to  justify  himself  before  his  contemporaries,  and 
before  history.  The  onus  of  guilt  here  falls  heavily  upon 
Secretary  Stanton  again. 

It  is  significant  that  whoever  mutilated  the  diary  had 
somehow  spared  an  entry  dated  April  21,  1865: 

"Tonight  I will  once  more  try  the  river,  with  the 
intention  to  cross;  though  I have  a greater  desire  and 
almost  a mind  to  return  to  Washington,  and  in  a measure 
clear  my  name,  which  I feel  I can  do.” 

* * * 

Philip  Van  Doren  Stern,  author  of  The  Man  Who 
Killed  Lincoln,  quite  rightfully  asks,  how  could  a self- 
confessed  murderer  clear  his  name  unless  he  knew  some- 
thing that  would  involve  other  people  than  himself  and  his 
associates?  Stern  also  refers  to  David  Herold’s  confession  in 
which  the  young  man  quotes  Booth  as  telling  him  that 
there  was  a group  of  thirty-five  men  in  Washington  involved 
in  the  plot. 

Sybil's  confused  communicator  kept  saying  certain 
numbers,  "forty-nine”  and  "thirty-four.”  Could  this  be  the 
code  for  Stanton  and  a committee  of  thirty-four  men? 

Whoever  they  were,  not  one  of  the  northern  conspira- 
tors ever  confessed  their  part  in  the  crime,  so  great  was 
the  popular  indignation  at  the  deed. 

John  H.  Surratt,  after  going  free  as  a consequence  of 
the  inability  of  his  trial  jury  to  agree  on  a verdict,  tried  his 
hand  at  lecturing  on  the  subject  of  the  assassination.  He 
only  gave  a single  lecture,  which  turned  out  a total  failure. 
Nobody  was  interested.  But  a statement  Surratt  made  at 
that  lecture  fortunately  has  come  down  to  us.  He  admitted 
that  another  group  of  conspirators  had  been  working  inde- 
pendently and  simultaneously  to  strike  a blow  at  Lincoln. 

That  Surratt  would  make  such  a statement  fits  right 
in  with  the  facts.  He  was  a courier  and  undercover  man  for 
the  Confederacy,  with  excellent  contacts  in  Washington.  It 
was  he  who  managed  to  have  the  telegraph  go  out  of  order 


during  the  murder  and  to  allow  Booth  to  pass  the  sentry  at 
the  Navy  Yard  bridge  without  difficulty.  But  was  the  com- 
municator speaking  through  Mrs.  Leek  not  holding  back 
information  at  first,  only  to  admit  finally  that  John  Wilkes 
knew  the  names  of  those  others,  after  all? 

This  differs  from  Philip  Van  Doren  Stern’s  account, 
in  which  Booth  was  puzzled  about  the  identities  of  his 
“unknown”  allies.  But  then,  Stern  didn’t  hold  a trance  ses- 
sion at  the  Surratt  tavern,  either.  Until  our  visit  in  Novem- 
ber of  1967,  the  question  seemed  up  in  the  air. 

Surratt  had  assured  Booth  that  “his  sources”  would 
make  sure  that  they  all  got  away  safely.  In  other  words, 
Booth  and  his  associates  were  doing  the  dirty  work  for  the 
brain  trust  in  Washington,  with  John  Surratt  serving  both 
sides  and  in  a way  linking  them  together  in  an  identical 
purpose — though  for  totally  opposite  reasons. 

Interestingly  enough,  the  entranced  Sybil  spoke  of  a 
colonel  who  knew  Sherman,  and  who  would  look  after 
him. . .he  would  supply  a ticket. . . ! That  ticket  might  have 
been  a steamer  ticket  for  some  foreign  ship  going  from 
Mexico  to  Europe,  where  Booth  could  be  safe.  But  who 
was  the  mysterious  Major  General  Gee?  Since  Booth’s 
group  was  planning  to  kill  Grant  as  well,  would  he  be 
likely  to  be  involved  in  the  plot  on  the  northern  end? 

Lincoln  had  asked  Grant  and  Mrs.  Grant  to  join  him 
at  Ford’s  Theatre  the  fateful  evening;  Grant  had  declined, 
explaining  that  he  wished  to  join  his  family  in  New  Jersey 
instead.  Perhaps  that  was  a natural  enough  excuse  to  turn 
down  the  President’s  invitation,  but  one  might  also  con- 
strue it  differently:  Did  he  know  about  the  plot  and  did  he 
not  wish  to  see  his  President  shot? 

Booth’s  choice  of  the  man  to  do  away  with  Grant  had 
fallen  on  John  Surratt,  as  soon  as  he  learned  of  the  change 
in  plans.  Surratt  was  to  get  on  the  train  that  took  Grant  to 
New  Jersey.  But  Grant  was  not  attacked;  there  is  no  evi- 
dence whatever  that  Surratt  ever  took  the  train,  and  he 
himself  said  he  didn’t.  Surratt,  then,  the  go-between  of  the 
two  groups  of  conspirators,  could  easily  have  warned  Grant 
himself:  The  Booth  group  wanted  to  kill  Lincoln  and  his 
chief  aides,  to  make  the  North  powerless;  but  the  northern 
conspirators  would  have  only  wanted  to  have  Lincoln 
removed  and  certainly  none  of  their  own  men.  Even 
though  Grant  was  likely  to  carry  out  the  President’s  "soft” 
peace  plans  while  Lincoln  was  his  commander-in-chief,  he 
was  a soldier  accustomed  to  taking  orders  and  would  carry 
out  with  equal  loyalty  the  hard-line  policies  of  Lincoln’s 
successor!  Everything  here  points  to  Surratt  as  having  been, 
in  effect,  a double  agent. 

But  was  the  idea  of  an  involvement  of  General  Grant 
really  so  incredible? 

Wilson  Sullivan,  author  of  a critical  review  of  a 
recently  published  volume  of  The  Papers  of  Andrew 


Assassination  of  a President: 
Lincoln.  Booth,  and  the  Traitors  Within 

113 


Johnson,  has  this  to  say  of  Grant,  according  to  the  Saturday 
Review  of  Literature,  March  16,  1968: 

"Despite  General  Grant’s  professed  acceptance  of 
Lincoln’s  policy  of  reconciliation  with  the  Southern  whites, 
President  Grant  strongly  supported  and  implemented  the 
notorious  Ku  Klux  Act  in  1871 

This  was  a law  practically  disenfranchising  Southern- 
ers and  placing  them  directly  under  federal  courts  rather 
than  local  and  state  authorities. 

It  was  Grant  who  executed  the  repressive  policies  of 
the  radical  Republican  Congress  and  who  reverted  to  the 
hard-line  policies  of  the  Stanton  clique  after  he  took  politi- 
cal office,  undoing  completely  whatever  lenient  measures 
President  Johnson  had  instituted  following  the  assassina- 
tion of  his  predecessor. 

But  even  before  Grant  became  President,  he  was  the 
man  in  power.  Since  the  end  of  the  Civil  War,  civil  admin- 
istrations had  governed  the  conquered  South.  In  March 
1867,  these  were  replaced  by  military  governments  in  five 
military  districts.  The  commanders  of  these  districts  were 
directly  responsible  to  General  Grant  and  disregarded  any 
orders  from  President  Johnson.  Civil  rights  and  state  laws 
were  broadly  ignored.  The  reasons  for  this  perversion  of 
Lincoln’s  policies  were  not  only  vengeance  on  the  Confed- 
eracy, but  political  considerations  as  well:  By  delaying  the 
voting  rights  of  Southerners,  a Republican  Congress  could 
keep  itself  in  office  that  much  longer.  Sullivan  feels  that 
this  attitude  was  largely  responsible  for  the  emergence  of 
the  Ku  Klux  Klan  and  other  racists  organizations  in  the 
South. 

Had  Lincoln  lived  out  his  term,  he  would  no  doubt 
have  implemented  a policy  of  rapid  reconciliation,  the 
South  would  have  regained  its  political  privileges  quickly, 
and  the  radical  Republican  party  might  have  lost  the  next 
election. 

That  party  was  led  by  Secretary  Stanton  and  General 
Grant! 

What  a convenient  thing  it  was  to  have  a southern 
conspiracy  at  the  proper  time!  All  one  had  to  do  is  get 
aboard  and  ride  the  conspiracy  to  the  successful 
culmination — then  blame  it  all  on  the  South,  thereby  doing 
a double  job,  heaping  more  guilt  upon  the  defeated  Con- 
federacy and  ridding  the  country  of  the  one  man  who  could 
forestall  the  continuance  in  power  of  the  Stanton-Grant 
group! 

That  Stanton  might  have  been  the  real  leader  in  the 
northern  plot  is  not  at  all  unlikely.  The  man  was  given  to 
rebellion  when  the  situation  demanded  it.  President 
Andrew  Johnson  had  tried  to  continue  the  Lincoln  line  in 
the  face  of  a hostile  Congress  and  even  a Cabinet  domi- 
nated by  radicals.  In  early  1868,  Johnson  tried  to  oust  Sec- 
retary Stanton  from  his  Cabinet  because  he  realized  that 
Stanton  was  betraying  his  policies.  But  Stanton  defied  his 
chief  and  barricaded  himself  in  the  War  Department.  This 

CHAPTER  FIVE:  Famous  Ghosts 


intolerable  situation  led  to  Johnson’s  impeachment  pro- 
ceedings, which  failed  by  a single  vote. 

There  was  one  more  tragic  figure  connected  with  the 
events  that  seemed  to  hold  unresolved  mysteries:  Mrs. 
Mary  Surratt,  widow  of  a Confederate  spy  and  mother  of 
another.  On  April  14,  1865,  she  invited  her  son’s  friend, 
and  one  of  her  boarders,  Louis  Weichman,  to  accompany 
her  on  an  errand  to  her  old  country  home,  now  a tavern,  at 
Surrattsville.  Weichmann  gladly  obliged  Mrs.  Surratt  and 
went  down  to  hire  a buggy.  At  the  tavern,  Mrs.  Surratt 
went  out  carrying  a package  which  she  described  to  Weich- 
mann as  belonging  to  Booth.  This  package  she  handed  to 
tavernkeeper  John  Lloyd  inside  the  house  to  safekeep  for 
Booth.  It  contained  the  guns  the  fugitives  took  with  them 
later,  after  the  assassination  had  taken  place. 

Weichmann ’s  testimony  of  this  errand,  and  his 
description  of  the  meetings  at  the  H Street  house,  were 
largely  responsible  for  Mrs.  Surratt’s  execution,  even 
though  it  was  never  shown  that  she  had  anything  to  do 
with  the  murder  plot  itself.  Weichmann ’s  testimony 
haunted  him  all  his  life,  for  Mrs.  Surratt’s  “ghost,”  as 
Lloyd  Lewis  puts  it  in  Myths  After  Lincoln,  “got  up  and 
walked”  in  1868  when  her  "avengers”  made  political  capital 
of  her  execution,  charging  Andrew  Johnson  with  having 
railroaded  her  to  death. 

Mrs.  Surratt’s  arrest  at  1 1:15  P.M.,  April  17,  1865, 
came  as  a surprise  to  her  despite  the  misgivings  she  had 
long  harbored  about  her  son’s  involvement  with  Booth  and 
the  other  plotters.  Lewis  Paine’s  untimely  arrival  at  the 
house  after  it  had  already  been  raided  also  helped  seal  her 
fate.  At  the  trial  that  followed,  none  of  the  accused  was 
ever  allowed  to  speak,  and  their  judges  were  doing  every- 
thing in  their  power  to  link  the  conspiracy  with  the  confed- 
erate government,  even  to  the  extent  of  producing  false 
witnesses,  who  later  recanted  their  testimonies. 

If  anyone  among  the  condemned  had  the  makings  of  a 
ghost,  it  was  Mary  Surratt. 

Soon  after  her  execution  and  burial,  reports  of  her 
haunting  the  house  on  H Street  started.  The  four  bodies  of 
the  executed  had  been  placed  inside  the  prison  walls  and 
the  families  were  denied  the  right  to  bury  them. 

When  Annie  Surratt  could  not  obtain  her  mother's 
body,  she  sold  the  lodging  house  and  moved  away  from  the 
home  that  had  seen  so  much  tragedy.  The  first  buyer  of 
the  house  had  little  luck  with  it,  however.  Six  weeks  later 
he  sold  it  again,  even  though  he  had  bought  it  very 
cheaply.  Other  tenants  came  and  went  quickly,  and  accord- 
ing to  the  Boston  Post,  which  chronicled  the  fate  of  the 
house,  it  was  because  they  saw  the  ghost  of  Mrs.  Surratt 
clad  in  her  execution  robe  walking  the  corridors  of  her 
home!  That  was  back  in  the  1860s  and  1870s.  Had  Mary 
Surratt  found  peace  since  then?  Her  body  now  lies  buried 
underneath  a simple  gravestone  at  Mount  Olivet  Cemetery. 

The  house  at  604  H Street,  N.W.  still  stands.  In  the 
early  1900s,  a Washington  lady  dined  at  the  house.  During 
dinner,  she  noticed  the  figure  of  a young  girl  appear  and 


114 


walk  up  the  stairs.  She  recognized  the  distraught  girl  as  the 
spirit  of  Annie  Surratt,  reports  John  McKelway  in  the 
Washington  Star.  The  Chinese  establishment  now  occupy- 
ing the  house  does  not  mind  the  ghosts,  either  mother  or 
daughter.  And  Ford  Theatre  has  just  been  restored  as  a 
legitimate  theatre,  to  break  the  ancient  jinx. 

Both  Stern  and  Emanuel  Hertz  quote  an  incident  in 
the  life  of  Robert  Lincoln,  whom  a Mr.  Young  discovered 
destroying  many  of  his  father’s  private  papers.  When  he 
remonstrated  with  Lincoln,  the  son  replied  that  "the  papers 
he  was  destroying  contained  the  documentary  evidence  of 
the  treason  of  a member  of  Lincoln’s  Cabinet,  and  he 
thought  it  best  for  all  that  such  evidence  be  destroyed.” 

Mr.  Young  enlisted  the  help  of  Nicholas  Murray 
Butler,  later  head  of  Columbia  University,  New  York,  to 
stop  Robert  Lincoln  from  continuing  this  destruction.  The 
remainder  of  the  papers  were  then  deposited  in  the  Library 
of  Congress,  but  we  don’t  know  how  many  documents 
Robert  Lincoln  had  already  destroyed  when  he  was  halted. 

There  remains  only  the  curious  question  as  to  the 
identity  of  our  communicator  at  the  Surratt  tavern  in 
November  1967. 

“Shot  down  like  a dog,”  the  voice  had  complained 
through  the  psychic. 

“Hunted  like  a dog,”  Booth  himself  wrote  in  his 
diary.  Why  would  Edwin  Booth,  who  had  done  everything 
in  his  power  to  publicly  repudiate  his  brother’s  deed,  and 
who  claimed  that  he  had  little  direct  contact  with  John 
Wilkes  in  the  years  before  the  assassination — why  would 
he  want  to  own  this  house  that  was  so  closely  connected 
with  the  tragedy  and  John  Wilkes  Booth?  Who  would 
think  that  the  “Prince  of  Players,”  who  certainly  had  no 
record  of  any  involvement  in  the  plot  to  kill  Lincoln, 
should  be  drawn  back  by  feelings  of  guilt  to  the  house  so 
intimately  connected  with  his  brother  John  Wilkes? 

But  he  did  own  it,  and  sell  it  to  B.  K.  Miller, 

Thomas  Miller’s  father! 

I couldn’t  find  any  Lowell,  Virginia  on  my  maps,  but 
there  is  a Laurel,  Maryland  not  far  from  Surrattsville,  or 
today’s  Clinton. 

Much  of  the  dialogue  fits  Edwin  Booth,  owner  of  the 
house.  Some  of  it  doesn’t,  and  some  of  it  might  be  deliber- 
ate coverup. 


Mark  you,  this  is  not  a "ghost”  in  the  usual  sense, 
for  nobody  reported  Edwin  Booth  appearing  to  them  at 
this  house.  Mrs.  Surratt  might  have  done  so,  both  here  and 
at  her  town  house,  but  the  principal  character  in  this  fasci- 
nating story  has  evidently  lacked  the  inner  torment  that  is 
the  basis  for  ghostly  manifestations  beyond  time  and  space. 
Quite  so,  for  to  John  Wilkes  Booth  the  deed  was  the  work 
of  a national  hero,  not  to  be  ashamed  of  at  all.  If  anything, 
the  ungrateful  Confederacy  owed  him  a debt  of  thanks. 

No,  I decided,  John  Wilkes  Booth  would  not  make  a 
convincing  ghost.  But  Edwin?  Was  there  more  to  his  rela- 
tionship with  John  Wilkes  than  the  current  published 
record  shows?  "Ah,  there’s  the  rub. . . ” the  Prince  of  Play- 
ers would  say  in  one  of  his  greatest  roles. 

Then,  too,  there  is  the  peculiar  mystery  of  John  Sur- 
ratt’s position.  He  had  broken  with  John  Wilkes  Booth 
weeks  before  the  murder,  he  categorically  stated  at  his  trial 
in  1867.  Yes,  he  had  been  part  of  the  earlier  plot  to  abduct 
Lincoln,  but  murder,  no.  That  was  not  his  game. 

* * * 

It  was  my  contention,  therefore,  that  John  Surratt's 
role  as  a dual  agent  seemed  highly  likely  from  the  evidence 
available  to  me,  both  through  objective  research  and  psy- 
chic contacts.  We  may  never  find  the  mysterious  colonel 
on  Sherman’s  staff,  nor  be  able  to  identify  with  certainty 
Major  General  “Gee.”  But  War  Secretary  Stanton’s  role 
looms  ominously  and  in  sinister  fashion  behind  the  gener- 
ally accepted  story  of  the  plot. 

* * * 

If  Edwin  Booth  came  through  Sybil  Leek  to  tell  us 
what  he  knew  of  his  brother’s  involvement  in  Lincoln’s 
death,  perhaps  he  did  so  because  John  Wilkes  never  got 
around  to  clear  his  name  himself.  Stanton  may  have  seen  to 
that,  and  the  disappearing  diary  and  unseeming  haste  of 
the  trial  all  fall  into  their  proper  places. 

* * * 

It  is  now  over  a hundred  years  after  the  event.  Will 
we  have  to  wait  that  long  before  we  know  the  complete 
truth  about  another  President’s  murder? 


Assassination  of  a President: 
Lincoln,  Booth,  and  the  Traitors  Within 

115 


* 10 

A Visit  with  Woodrow  Wilson 

The  Washington  Post  may  have  published  an  occa- 
sional phantom  story  over  the  years,  but  not  too  many 
ghost  stories.  Thus  it  was  with  a degree  of  skepticism  that 
I picked  up  a copy  of  that  ebullient  newspaper  dated  May 
4,  1969.  It  had  been  sent  to  me  by  a well-meaning  friend 
and  fan  living  in  Washington.  Mrs.  Charles  Marwick,  her- 
self a writer  and  married  to  a medical  writer,  is  of  Scottish 
ancestry  and  quite  prone  to  pick  up  a ghost  story  here  and 
there. 

The  piece  in  question  had  attracted  her  attention  as 
being  a little  bit  above  the  usual  cut  of  the  journalistic 
approach  to  that  sort  of  material.  Generally,  my  newspaper 
colleagues  like  to  make  light  of  any  psychic  report,  and  if 
the  witnesses  are  respectable,  or  at  least  rational  on  the  sur- 
face of  it,  they  will  report  the  events  but  still  add  a funny 
tag  line  or  two  to  make  sure  that  no  one  takes  their  own 
attitude  toward  the  supernatural  too  seriously. 

Thus,  when  I saw  the  headline,  “Playing  Host  to 
Ghosts?"  I was  wormed.  This  looked  like  one  of  those 
light-hearted,  corny  approaches  to  the  psychic.  I thought, 
but  when  I started  to  read  the  report  by  Phil  Casey  I real- 
ized that  the  reporter  was  trying  to  be  fair  to  both  his  edi- 
tor and  the  ghosts. 

The  Woodrow  Wilson  House  at  2340  S St.  NW  is  a 
quiet,  serene  place  most  of  the  time,  with  only  about 
1 50  visitors  a week  but  sometimes  at  night  there’s  more 
noise  than  Jose  Vasquez,  the  house  man,  can  stand. 

Vasquez  has  been  hearing  queer,  and  sometimes 
loud,  noises  in  the  night  a couple  of  times  a year  for  the 
past  four  years,  but  they  didn't  bother  him  much  until 
the  stroke  of  midnight,  Saturday,  April  5. 

“It  was  depressing,”  he  said.  “If  I were  a nervous 
man,  it  would  be  very  bad.” 

Vasquez,  who  is  32,  is  from  Peru,  speaks  four  lan- 
guages, plays  the  piano  and  is  a student  at  D.C.  Teach- 
ers College,  where  he  intends  to  major  in  psychology. 

He  doesn't  believe  in  ghosts,  but  he’s  finding  it  hard  to 
hold  that  position  the  way  things  are  going  around  that 
house. 

He  was  downstairs  playing  the  piano  that  night,  he 
said,  and  he  was  all  alone  (his  wife,  a practical  nurse, 
was  at  work  at  the  National  Institute  of  Health). 

"I  felt  that  someone  was  behind  me,  watching  me," 
he  said.  "My  neck  felt  funny.  You  know?  But  there  was 
no  one  there.  I looked." 

Later,  Vasquez  was  walking  up  to  his  fourth-floor 
apartment  when  he  heard  something  behind  him  on  the 
third  floor,  near  the  bedrooms  of  the  World  War  I Pres- 
ident and  his  wife. 

“The  steps  were  loud,”  he  said,  “and  heavy,  like  a 
man.” 


CHAPTER  FIVE:  Famous  Ghosts 


The  footsteps  went  into  Mrs.  Wilson’s  bedroom,  and 
Vasquez  went  in,  too.  He  kept  hearing  the  steps  in  the 
room,  and  was  in  a state  of  almost  total  unhappiness. 

“I  go  to  this  comer,”  he  said,  going  to  the  corner, 

“and  I stand  here  and  wait.  I waited  a long  time  and 
then  I hear  the  steps  again,  going  into  the  hall  and  to 
Mr.  Wilson's  bedroom.  I follow.” 

At  that  point,  listening  to  the  heavy  footsteps  at  the 
foot  of  the  President’s  four-poster  bed,  Vasquez  decided 
to  hurry  upstairs. 

"And  when  I do,  the  steps  they  came  running  behind 
me,"  he  said,  "and  they  follow  me,  bump,  bump,  bump, 
up  the  stairs.  I am  very  nervous.” 

The  back  stairway  is  iron,  and  noisy,  which  didn’t 
help  any,  Vasquez  said,  but  he  went  on  up  to  his 
apartment. 

And  then,  he  heard  no  more  footsteps  and  he  was 
glad  about  that. 

Once,  some  time  back,  Vasquez  was  in  his  tub  when 
he  heard  some  knocking  noises  on  the  tub. 

“I  knock  right  back,  like  this,"  he  said,  thumping  the 
tub,  "and  the  noise  stops." 

His  wife  has  never  heard  the  footsteps  or  the  tub 
knocking,  but  she  hears  an  occasional  noise  and  some- 
times she  wakes  up  in  the  night  under  the  impression 
that  someone  is  standing  at  the  foot  of  the  bed.  There 
never  is  anyone  she  can  see. 

I talked  to  Mr.  Vasquez,  and  he  sounded  like  a very 
nice,  rational  fellow.  He  had  nothing  to  add  to  the  story 
that  had  appeared  in  the  Post,  but  he  referred  me  to  the 
curator  of  the  Wilson  House  for  permission  to  visit. 

I contacted  Ruth  Dillon  and  patiently  explained  the 
purpose  of  my  investigation.  As  much  as  I tried  to  stress 
the  historic  aspects  of  it,  she  already  knew  from  my  name 
what  I was  after,  and  to  my  surprise  did  not  object;  so  long 
as  I did  not  publish  anything  untrue,  she  did  not  mind  my 
talking  about  any  specters  that  might  be  on  the  premises, 
famous  or  otherwise. 

I knew  very  little  about  the  late  Woodrow  Wilson 
myself,  except  what  one  generally  knows  of  any  President 
of  the  United  States,  and  I made  it  a point  not  to  read  up 
on  him.  Instead  I called  Ethel  Johnson  Meyers,  my  good 
friend  and  many  times  my  medium,  and  arranged  for  her 
to  accompany  me  to  Washington  in  the  near  future.  Due 
to  a sudden  cancellation  in  Mrs.  Meyers’  busy  schedule, 
the  date  we  were  able  to  set  was  May  6,  1969,  three  days 
after  the  reporter  had  written  his  article.  A good  friend  of 
mine,  Mrs.  Nicole  Jackson,  offered  to  drive  us  around 
since  I do  not  drive  a car,  and  the  three  of  us  arrived  at  the 
Woodrow  Wilson  House  at  the  appointed  hour. 

That  hour  was  1 1 A. M.,  on  a sunny  and  very  warm 
May  6.  The  house  was  majestic,  even  from  the  outside.  It 
looked  the  very  essence  of  a presidential  mansion.  It  looked 
that  way  to  me  today,  although  I gather  that  in  the  days 
when  this  house  was  built,  such  houses  were  not  consid- 
ered ostentatious  but  rather  ordinary  elegant  town  houses 
for  those  who  could  afford  them. 


116 


Now  the  property  of  the  National  Trust,  the  house 
has  been  turned  into  a museum,  and  visitors  are  admitted 
at  certain  hours  of  the  day.  Four  stories  high,  it  also  boasts 
a magnificent  garden  in  the  back  and  offers  the  privacy  of  a 
country  estate  along  with  the  convenience  of  a town  house. 
It  is  difficult  to  accurately  describe  the  style  of  this  build- 
ing. Built  for  Henry  Parker  Fairbanks  in  1915,  the  red- 
brick Georgian  house  was  designed  by  the  architect  Waddy 
B.  Wood.  Late  in  1920,  as  President  Wilson's  second  term 
neared  its  end,  Mrs.  Wilson  searched  for  an  appropriate 
residence.  She  happened  to  be  passing  the  house  on 
S Street,  which  she  is  later  quoted  as  describing  as  “an 
unpretentious,  comfortable,  dignified  house,  fitted  to  the 
needs  of  a gentleman.”  On  December  14  of  that  year, 
according  to  the  brochure  published  by  the  National  Trust 
about  the  Woodrow  Wilson  House,  Mr.  Wilson  insisted 
that  his  wife  attend  a concert,  and  when  she  returned,  pre- 
sented her  with  the  deed  to  the  property.  The  next  day 
they  visited  the  house,  where  Mr.  Wilson  gave  her  a piece 
of  sod,  representing  the  land,  and  the  key  to  one  of  the 
doors,  representing  the  house — telling  her  this  was  an  old 
Scottish  custom. 

The  Wilsons  made  certain  changes,  such  as  the 
installation  of  an  elevator  and  the  addition  of  a billiard 
room.  They  also  constructed  a brick  garage  and  placed  iron 
gates  at  the  entrance  to  the  drive.  Some  of  the  rooms  were 
changed,  and  a large  library  was  constructed  to  hold  Mr. 
Wilson’s  eight  thousand  books.  Today  the  library  contains 
a large  collection  of  items  connected  with  President  Wilson 
and  his  contemporaries.  These  are  mainly  presentation 
copies  of  books  and  documents. 

President  Wilson  lived  in  the  house  with  his  second 
wife,  Edith  Bolling  Wilson.  She  was  a devoted  companion 
to  him  during  his  last  years,  went  to  Europe  with  him  to 
attend  peace  conferences,  and  generally  traveled  with  the 
President.  She  liked  to  read  to  him  and  he,  conversely, 
liked  to  read  to  her,  and  in  general  they  were  a very  close 
and  devoted  couple. 

At  the  end  of  his  second  term  he  retired  to  this 
house,  and  died  here  three  years  later  on  February  3,  1924. 
Mrs.  Wilson,  who  later  presented  the  house  to  the  Ameri- 
can people  under  the  guardianship  of  the  National  Trust, 
also  lived  and  died  there  on  December  28,  1961 , which 
happened  to  be  the  105th  anniversary  of  President  Wil- 
son's birth. 

By  and  large  the  rooms  have  been  kept  as  they  were 
during  their  tenancy,  with  the  sole  addition  of  certain  items 
such  as  furniture,  antiquities,  and  documents  pertaining  to 
the  Wilsons’  careers  and  lifetimes.  If  the  house  is  a 
museum,  it  doesn’t  look  like  one.  It  is  more  like  a shrine — 
but  not  an  ostentatious  one — to  what  many  consider  a 
great  American. 

As  is  my  custom,  I let  Ethel  Meyers — who  did  not 
know  she  was  in  the  Wilson  House — roam  the  premises 
under  investigation  at  will,  so  that  she  could  get  her  psy- 
chic bearings.  She  walked  to  and  fro,  puzzled  here,  sure  of 


something  or  other  there,  without  saying  anything.  I fol- 
lowed her  as  close  as  I could.  Finally,  she  walked  up  the 
stairs  and  came  down  again  in  a hurry,  pointing  up 
towards  the  top  floors. 

“What  is  it?”  I asked  Ethel. 

"Someone  up  there,”  she  mumbled,  and  looked  at 

me. 

“Let  us  go  in  here,”  I suggested,  as  some  visitors 
were  coming  in  through  the  front  door.  I did  not  want  to 
create  a sensation  with  my  investigation,  as  I had  promised 
to  do  the  whole  thing  quietly  and  unobtrusively. 

We  stepped  into  a parlor  to  one  side  of  the  main 
entrance.  There  I asked  Ethel  to  take  a seat  in  one  of  the 
old  chairs  and  try  to  give  me  her  impressions  of  what  she 
had  just  experienced  upstairs. 

At  this  point,  the  medium’s  control  personality, 

Albert,  took  over. 

“So  many  detached  things  are  coming  in.  I’m  getting 
the  presence  of  an  individual  here.  I haven’t  had  an  impres- 
sion like  this  before,  it  seems.  Heed  kindly  the  light  which 
we  throw  on  this  to  you  now.  That  is  a hymn — ‘Lead, 
Kindly  Light.’” 

"Is  there  anything  in  this  house  that  is  causing 
disturbances?” 

“There  is  restlessness,  where  those  who  remember 
certain  things.  They  are  like  fertile  fields,  to  create  over  a 
past  that  is  not  understood.” 

“Who  is  the  communicator,  do  you  think?” 

Albert  replied:  “I  would  say  it  is  himself , in  the  pic- 
ture on  the  mantelpiece.” 

“What  does  he  want  you  to  do,  or  say?” 

“I  heard  him  distinctly  say  that  the  family  rows 
should  not  be  made  public.  That  those  are  thought  levels 
in  the  house.  Angry  voices  sometimes  rise.  There  are  also 
others  who  have  things  to  say  for  themselves,  beyond 
that.” 

“What  is  the  row?” 

“Let  them  speak  for  themselves.” 

“What  is  there  that  he  wants  to  do — is  there  any- 
thing specific  he  would  like  us  to  know?” 

“That  the  world  going  forward  is  more  pleasant  now 
than  going  for  me  backwards,  because  true  statements  are 
coming  forth  to  make  wider  reach  for  man  when  he  shakes 
his  hands  across  oceans  with  his  neighbors.  So  now  they  are, 
not  before;  they  were  in  your  back  yard  so  to  speak  under 
the  shade  of  other  trees.” 

The  "resident  spirit”  was  now  talking  directly  to  us. 

“I  want  to  say,  if  you  will  give  me  audience  while  I 
am  here,  that  this  is  my  pleasurable  moment,  to  lift  the 
curtain  to  show  you  that  the  mortal  enemy  will  become  the 
great  friend,  soon  now.  That  my  puny  dream  of  yesteryear 
has  been  gradually  realized — the  brotherhood  of  man.  And 
it  becomes  clearer,  closer  to  the  next  century.  It  is  here,  for 
us  on  our  side.  I see  it  more  clearly  from  here.  I am  not 

A Visit  with  Woodrow  Wilson 


117 


sure  about  that  designated  time.  But  it  is  the  brotherhood 
of  man,  when  the  religious  problem  is  lifted  and  the  truth 
is  seen,  and  all  men  stand  equal  to  other  men,  neighbors, 
enemies.” 

“Who  are  you  referring  to?” 

“I  come  back  again  to  tell  you,  that  the  hands  that 
will  reach  over  the  mighty  ocean  will  soon  clasp!  Hands 
lean  forward  to  grasp  them.  My  puny  dream,  my  puny 
ideal,  takes  form,  and  I look  upon  it  and  I am  proud  as  a 
small  part  but  an  integral  part  of  that.  It  will  bloom,  the 
period  of  gestation  is  about  over,  when  this  will  come  to 
light.  And  I give  great  thanks  to  the  withinness  that  I have 
had  so  small  a part  in  the  integral  whole.  I tell  you  it  is  all  a 
part  of  the  period  of  gestation  before  the  dawn.” 

"When  will  the  dawn  come?” 

“Just  before  the  turn  of  the  century.  Eighty-eight, 

— nine.” 

“And  until  then?” 

“The  period  of  gestation  must  go  through  its  tortu- 
ous ways.  But  it  will  dawn,  it  will  dawn  and  not  only  on 
this  terra  firma.  It  will  dawn  even  over  this  city,  and  it  will 
be  more  a part  of  world -state  as  I saw  it  in  my  very  close 
view  of  the  world.  I was  given  this  dream,  and  I have  lived 
by  it.” 

“Do  you  want  us  to  do  anything  about  your  family, 
or  your  friends?  Tell  them  anything  specifically?” 

"That  my  soul  lives  on,  and  that  it  will  return  when 
I see  the  turn  of  the  century,  and  that  I may  look  face  to 
face  with  that  which  I saw;  that  which  was  born  within  my 
consciousness.” 

"Whom  should  we  give  this  message  to?” 

"The  one  living  member  of  my  family.” 

"What  is  this  member’s  name?” 

“Alice.” 

“Anything  else?” 

“Just  mundane  moments  of  the  lives  of  many  fallible 
mortals  are  inconsequential.  Posterity  has  no  need  for  it.  It 
has  only  the  need  for  that  which  is  coming — the  bright 
new  dawn.  We  live  to  tell  you  this  too.  God  rest  the  soul 
of  man;  it  will  win.  Science  will  win.  Man’s  soul  will  be 
free  to  know  its  own  importance.  I have  forgotten  the 
future;  I look  upon  it  all,  here,  as  my  integral  part  of  the 
world.” 

"We  will  then  go  and  have  a look  at  that  which  was 
your  house.  Thank  you  for  telling  me  what  you  did.” 

“God  bless  you — that  is,  the  God  that  is  your  own 
true  God.” 

“Thank  you.” 

“Hello — Albert.” 

“Albert — is  everything  alright?” 

“She’s  fine.  1 will  release  her.” 

“Thank  you.” 

"I  guess  you  know  with  whom  you  were  speaking.” 

“Yes.” 

CHAPTER  FIVE;  Famous  Ghosts 


“It  was  difficult  for  him  to  take  over.” 

Now  Ethel  came  out  of  trance,  none  the  worse  for  it. 

I questioned  her  about  the  room  we  were  in. 

“Deals  have  been  made  in  this  room.” 

“What  kind  of  deals?” 

"Political  deals.  There  is  a heavy-set  man  with  side- 
burns here.” 

“Is  he  somebody  of  importance?” 

”1  would  say  so.  He  has  not  too  much  hair  up  here. 
Could  have  a beard.” 

“What  would  he  be  doing  here?” 

“Well  he  seems  to  take  over  the  room.  To  make  a 
deal,  of  some  kind.” 

"What  kind  of  deal?” 

"I  don’t  think  he’s  an  American.” 

“If  you  saw  him  would  you  recognize  him?” 

“I  think  I would,  yes.” 

I walked  Ethel  into  the  huge  room  with  the  fireplace, 
pointing  at  various  photographs  lined  up  on  top  of  it. 
“Would  this  be  the  man?” 

“Oh,  that’s  George  isn’t  it?” 

“No.  Could  this  be  the  man?” 

“That’s  Richard  then.” 

"No,  it’s  not  Richard  and  it’s  not  George,  but  is  it  the 
man  that  you  saw?” 

“He’s  a little  more  gray  here  than  he  was  when  I — if 
that’s  the  man.  But  it  could  be,  yes.”  She  had  just  identi- 
fied a world-famous  statesman  of  World  War  I vintage. 

We  had  now  arrived  on  the  third  floor.  A guide  took 
us  around  and  pointed  out  the  elevator  and  the  iron  stairs. 
We  walked  down  again  and  stopped  at  the  grand  piano. 

“Ethel,”  I asked,  “do  you  think  that  this  piano  has 
been  used  recently?” 

"I  would  say  it  has.  Ghostly,  too.  I think  this  is  a 
whirlpool  right  here.  I don’t  know  whether  Wilson  was  a 
good  pianist  or  not,  but  he  has  touched  it.” 

“Do  you  feel  he  is  the  one  that  is  in  the  house?” 

“I  don’t  think  that  he  is  haunting  it,  but  present, 

yes.” 

* * * 

\ 

I carefully  checked  into  the  history  of  the  house,  to 
see  whether  some  tragedy  or  other  unusual  happenings 
might  have  produced  a genuine  ghost.  There  was  nothing 
in  the  background  of  the  house  to  indicate  that  such  an 
event  had  ever  taken  place.  How  then  was  one  to  explain 
the  footsteps?  What  about  the  presence  Mr.  Vasquez  had 
felt?  Since  most  of  the  phenomena  occurred  upstairs,  one  is 
led  to  believe  that  they  might  be  connected  with  some  of 
the  servants  or  someone  living  at  that  level  of  the  house. 

At  the  period  when  the  Wilsons  had  the  house,  the  top 
floor  was  certainly  used  as  servants’  quarters.  But  the 
Wilsons’  own  bedroom  and  living  quarters  were  also 
upstairs,  and  the  footsteps  and  the  feeling  of  a presence 
was  not  restricted  to  the  topmost  floor,  it  would  appear. 


118 


Then,  too,  the  expressions  used  by  the  entranced 
medium  indicate  a person  other  than  an  ordinary  servant. 
There  are  several  curious  references  in  the  transcript  of  the 
tape  taken  while  Ethel  Johnson  Meyers  was  in  trance,  and 
afterwards  when  she  spoke  to  me  clairvoyantly.  First  of  all, 
the  reference  to  a hymn,  “Lead,  Kindly  Light,”  would 
indeed  be  in  character  for  President  Wilson.  He  was  a son 
of  a Presbyterian  minister,  and  certainly  grew  up  under  the 
influence  of  his  father  as  far  as  religion  and  expressions 
were  concerned.  The  references  to  “hands  across  the  sea” 
would  be  unimportant  if  Ethel  Johnson  Meyers  had  known 
that  she  was  in  the  Wilson  House.  However,  she  did  not 
connect  the  house  with  President  Wilson  at  the  time  she 
made  the  statement.  The  “puny  dream”  referred  to  of  unit- 
ing the  world  was  certainly  President  Wilson’s  uppermost 
thought  and  desire.  Perhaps  Woodrow  Wilson  will  be 
known  as  the  "Peace  President”  in  future  history  books — 
even  though  he  was  in  office  during  a war,  he  went  into 
that  war  with  a genuine  and  sincere  desire  to  end  all  wars. 
"To  make  the  world  safe  for  democracy”  was  one  of  his 
best-known  slogans.  Thus,  the  expressions  relayed  by  the 
medium  seem  to  me  to  be  entirely  in  keeping  with  that 
spirit. 

True,  the  entity  speaking  through  the  medium  did 
not  come  forward  and  say,  “I  am  Woodrow  Wilson.”  I 
would  not  have  expected  it.  That  would  have  been  ostenta- 
tious and  entirely  out  of  character  for  the  quiet,  soft- 
spoken  gentleman  Wilson  was. 

* * * 

Is  the  Woodrow  Wilson  House  haunted?  Is  the  rest- 
less spirit  of  the  “Peace  President”  once  more  about, 


because  of  what  is  transpiring  in  his  beloved  Washington? 
Is  he  aroused  by  the  absence  of  peace  even  in  his  own 
homeland,  let  alone  abroad?  Truly,  the  conditions  to  cause 
a restless  entity  to  remain  disturbed  are  all  present. 

Why  is  he  trying  to  make  contact  with  the  physical 
world  at  this  time?  The  man  who  reported  his  experiences 
to  the  Washington  Post  evidently  is  mediumistic.  There  are 
very  few  people  staying  overnight  in  the  house  at  the  pre- 
sent time.  Very  likely  the  restless  spirit  of  President 
Wilson — if  indeed  it  is  his  spirit — found  it  convenient  to 
contact  this  man,  despite  his  comparatively  unimportant 
position.  But  because  he  was  psychic  he  presented  a chan- 
nel through  which  the  President — if  it  was  indeed  he — 
could  express  himself  and  reach  the  outer  world,  the  world 
that  seems  to  be  so  much  in  need  of  peace  today. 

In  a sense  he  has  succeeded  in  his  efforts.  Because  of 
the  experiences  of  Mr.  Vasquez  I became  aware  of  the 
hauntings  at  the  Wilson  House.  My  visit  and  the  trance 
condition  into  which  I placed  Ethel  Johnson  Meyers 
resulted  in  a certain  contact.  There  is  every  reason  to 
believe  that  this  contact  was  the  President  himself. 

As  we  left  the  house,  I questioned  Mrs.  Meyers  once 
again  about  the  man  she  had  clairvoyantly  seen  walking 
about  the  house.  Without  thinking,  she  described  the  tall 
dignified  figure  of  Woodrow  Wilson.  It  may  not  constitute 
absolute  proof  in  terms  of  parapsychology,  of  course,  but  I 
have  the  feeling  that  we  did  indeed  make  contact  with  the 
restless  and  truly  perturbed  spirit  of  Woodrow  Wilson, 
and  that  this  spirit  somehow  wants  me  to  tell  the  world 
how  concerned  he  is  about  the  state  it  is  in. 


» 11 

Ring  Around  the  White  House 

I DON’T  THINK  ANYONE  has  had  more  trouble  getting 
into  the  White  House  for  a specific  purpose  than  I except, 
perhaps,  some  presidential  aspirants  such  as  Thomas  E. 
Dewey.  Mr.  Dewey’s  purpose  was  a lot  easier  to  explain 
than  mine,  to  begin  with.  How  do  you  tell  an  official  at  the 
presidential  mansion  that  you  would  like  to  go  to  the  Lin- 
coln Bedroom  to  see  whether  Lincoln’s  ghost  is  still  there? 
How  do  you  make  it  plain  that  you’re  not  looking  for  sen- 
sationalism, that  you’re  not  bringing  along  a whole  covey 
of  newspaper  people,  all  of  which  can  only  lead  to  unfavor- 
able publicity  for  the  inhabitants  of  the  White  House, 
whoever  they  may  be  at  the  time? 

Naturally,  this  was  the  very  difficult  task  to  which  I 
had  put  myself  several  years  ago.  Originally  when  I was 
collecting  material  for  Window  to  the  Past,  I had  envisioned 
myself  going  to  the  Lincoln  Bedroom  and  possibly  the  East 


Room  in  the  White  House,  hoping  to  verify  and  authenti- 
cate apparitions  that  had  occurred  to  a number  of  people  in 
those  areas.  But  all  my  repeated  requests  for  permission  to 
visit  the  White  House  in  the  company  of  a reputable  psy- 
chic were  turned  down.  Even  when  I promised  to  submit 
my  findings  and  the  writings  based  on  those  findings  to 
White  House  scrutiny  prior  to  publication,  I was  told  that 
my  request  could  not  be  granted. 

The  first  reason  given  was  that  it  was  not  convenient 
because  the  President  and  his  family  were  in.  Then  it  was 
not  convenient  because  they  would  be  away.  Once  I was 
turned  down  because  my  visit  could  not  be  cleared  suffi- 
ciently with  Security  and  anyway,  that  part  of  the  White 
House  I wanted  to  visit  was  private. 

I never  gave  up.  Deep  down  I had  the  feeling  that 
the  White  House  belongs  to  the  people  and  is  not  a piece 
of  real  estate  on  which  even  the  presidential  family  may 
hang  out  a sign,  “No  Trespassers.”  I still  think  so.  How- 

Ring  Around  the  White  House 


119 


ever,  I got  nowhere  as  long  as  the  Johnsons  were  in  the 
White  House. 

I tried  again  and  again.  A colonel  stationed  in  the 
White  House,  whom  I met  through  Countess  Gertrude 
d’Amecourt,  a mutual  friend,  tried  hard  to  get  permission 
for  me  to  come  and  investigate.  He  too  failed. 

Next,  I received  a letter,  quite  unexpectedly,  from  the 
Reverend  Thomas  W.  Dettman  of  Niagara,  Wisconsin.  He 
knew  a number  of  very  prominent  men  in  the  federal  gov- 
ernment and  offered  to  get  me  the  permission  I needed. 
These  men,  he  explained,  had  handled  government  investi- 
gations for  him  before,  and  he  was  sure  they  would  be 
happy  to  be  of  assistance  if  he  asked  them.  He  was  even 
sure  they  would  carry  a lot  of  weight  with  the  President. 
They  knew  him  well,  he  asserted.  Mr.  Dettman  had  been 
associated  with  the  Wisconsin  Nixon  for  President  Com- 
mittee, and  offered  to  help  in  any  way  he  could. 

After  thanking  Mr.  Dettman  for  his  offer,  I heard 
nothing  further  for  a time.  Then  he  wrote  me  again 
explaining  that  he  had  as  yet  not  been  able  to  get  me  into 
the  Lincoln  Bedroom,  but  that  he  was  still  working  on  it. 
He  had  asked  the  help  of  Representative  John  Byrnes  of 
Wisconsin  in  the  matter,  and  I would  hear  further  about  it. 
Then  Mr.  Dettman  informed  me  that  he  had  managed  to 
arrange  for  me  to  be  given  “a  special  tour”  of  the  White 
House,  and,  to  the  best  of  his  knowledge,  that  included  the 
East  Room.  He  then  asked  that  I contact  William  E.  Tim- 
mons, Assistant  to  the  President,  for  details. 

I was,  of  course,  elated.  Imagine,  a special  tour  of  the 
White  House!  What  could  be  better  than  that? 

With  his  letter,  Mr.  Dettman  had  included  a letter 
from  Senator  William  Proxmire  of  Wisconsin,  in  which  the 
Senator  noted  that  I would  not  be  able  to  do  research  in 
the  Lincoln  Bedroom,  but  that  I would  be  given  the  special 
tour  of  the  White  House. 

I hurriedly  wrote  a thank-you  note  to  Mr.  Dettman, 
and  started  to  make  plans  to  bring  a medium  to  Washing- 
ton with  me.  A few  days  later  Mr.  Dettman  wrote  me 
again. 

He  had  received  a call  from  the  White  House  con- 
cerning the  tour.  He  could,  he  explained,  in  no  way  guar- 
antee what  kind  of  tour  I would  be  given,  nor  what  I would 
see.  He  had  done  everything  possible  to  help  me  and 
hoped  I would  not  be  disappointed. 

Whether  my  own  sixth  sense  was  working  or  not,  1 
suddenly  thought  I had  better  look  into  the  nature  of  that 
“special  tour”  myself.  I wrote  and  asked  whether  I would 
be  permitted  to  spend  half  an  hour  in  the  East  Room,  since 
the  Lincoln  Bedroom  had  been  denied  me.  Back  came  a 
letter  dated  May  14,  1970,  on  White  House  stationery,  and 
signed  by  John  S.  Davies,  Special  Assistant  to  the  Presi- 
dent, Office  White  House  Visitors. 


CHAPTER  FIVE:  Famous  Ghosts 


Senator  Proxmire’s  recent  letter  to  Mr.  William  Tim- 
mons concerning  your  most  recent  request  to  visit  the 
White  House  has  been  referred  to  me,  as  this  office  is 
responsible  for  White  House  visitors.  Unfortunately,  as 
we  have  pointed  out,  we  are  unable  to  arrange  for  you  to 
visit  the  Lincoln  Bedroom,  as  this  room  is  in  the  Presi- 
dent’s personal  residence  area,  which  is  not  open  to  visi- 
tors. If  you  wish  to  arrange  an  early-morning  special 
tour,  I suggest  you  contact  Senator  Proxmire 's  office. 

You  are  also  most  welcome  to  come  to  the  White  House 
any  time  during  the  regular  visiting  hours. 

I decided  to  telephone  Mr.  Davies  since  the  day  of 
my  planned  visit  was  close  at  hand.  It  was  only  then  that  I 
realized  what  that  famous  “special  tour”  really  was.  It 
meant  that  I,  along  with  who  else  might  be  present  at  the 
time  at  the  White  House  gates,  would  be  permitted  to  walk 
through  the  part  of  the  White  House  open  to  all  visitors.  I 
couldn’t  bring  a tape  recorder.  I could  not  sit  down  or  tarry 
along  the  way.  I had  to  follow  along  with  the  group, 
glance  up  at  whatever  might  be  interesting,  and  be  on  my 
way  again  like  a good  little  citizen.  What,  then,  was  so  spe- 
cial about  that  tour,  I inquired?  Nothing  really,  I was  told, 
but  that  is  what  it  is  known  as.  It  is  called  a special  tour 
because  you  have  to  have  the  request  of  either  a Senator  or 
a Representative  from  your  home  state. 

I canceled  my  visit  and  dismissed  the  medium.  But 
my  reading  public  is  large,  and  other  offers  to  help  me 
came  my  way. 

Debbie  Fitz  is  a teenage  college  student  who  wanted 
me  to  lecture  at  her  school.  In  return,  she  offered  to  get  me 
into  the  White  House,  or  at  least  try  to.  I smiled  at  her 
courage,  but  told  her  to  go  right  ahead  and  try.  She  wrote  a 
letter  to  Miss  Nixon,  whom  she  thought  would  be  favor- 
able to  her  request,  being  of  the  same  age  group  and  all 
that.  After  explaining  her  own  interest  in  ESP  research  and 
the  importance  this  field  has  in  this  day  and  age  for  the 
young,  she  went  on  to  explain  who  I was  and  that  I had 
previously  been  denied  admittance  to  the  White  House 
areas  I wished  to  do  research  in.  She  wrote: 

All  he  wants  to  do  is  take  a psychic  medium  into  the 
room  and  scientifically  record  any  phenomena  that  may 
exist.  This  will  not  involve  staying  overnight;  it  can  be 
done  during  the  day  at  your  convenience.  All  investiga- 
tions are  conducted  in  a scientific  manner  and  are  fully 
documented.  It  is  well  known  that  Lincoln  himself  was 
psychic  and  held  seances  in  the  White  House.  Wouldn’t 
you,  as  a student  of  White  House  history  and  a member 
of  the  young,  open-minded  generation,  like  to  find  out 
whether  or  not  this  room  is  really  haunted?  This  will 
also  provide  an  opportunity  for  young  people  who  are 
interested  in  other  things  besides  riots  and  demonstra- 
tions to  benefit  intellectually  from  Mr.  Holzer’s  efforts. 

Debbie  Fitz  never  received  a reply  or  an  acknowledg- 
ment. I,  of  course,  never  heard  about  the  matter  again. 

Try  as  I would,  I was  rebuffed.  Just  the  same,  interest 
in  the  haunted  aspects  of  the  nation’s  Executive  Mansion 


120 


remains  at  a high  level.  Several  Washington  newspapers 
carried  stories  featuring  some  of  the  psychic  occurrences 
inside  the  White  House,  and  whenever  I appeared 
on  Washington  television,  I was  invariably  asked  about  the 
ghosts  at  the  White  House.  Perhaps  the  best  account  of  the 
psychic  state  of  affairs  at  number  1600  Pennsylvania 
Avenue  was  written  by  the  Washington  Post  reporter, 
Jacqueline  Lawrence. 

“The  most  troubled  spirit  of  1600  Pennsylvania 
Avenue  is  Abraham  Lincoln,  who  during  his  own  lifetime 
claimed  to  receive  regular  visits  from  his  two  dead  sons, 

Pat  and  Willie.”  After  reporting  the  well-known  premoni- 
tory dream  in  which  Lincoln  saw  himself  dead  in  a casket 
in  the  East  Room,  Miss  Lawrence  goes  on  to  report  that 
Mrs.  Franklin  Delano  Roosevelt’s  servant,  Mary  Evan,  had 
reported  seeing  Lincoln  on  the  bed  in  the  northwest  bed- 
room, pulling  on  his  boots.  “Other  servants  said  they  had 
seen  him  lying  quietly  in  his  bed,  and  still  others  vowed 
that  he  periodically  stood  at  the  oval  window  over  the  main 
entrance  of  the  White  House.  Mrs.  Roosevelt  herself  never 
saw  Lincoln,  but  she  did  admit  that  when  working  late  she 
frequently  felt  a ghostly  sort  of  presence.” 

Amongst  the  visitors  to  the  White  House  who  had 
experienced  psychic  occurrences  was  the  late  Queen  Wil- 
helmina  of  the  Netherlands.  Asleep  in  the  Queen’s  Bed- 
room, she  heard  someone  knock  at  her  door,  got  up, 
opened  it,  and  saw  the  ghost  of  President  Lincoln  standing 
there  looking  at  her.  She  fainted,  and  by  the  time  she  had 
come  to  he  was  gone. 

“According  to  the  legend,  the  spirit  of  Lincoln  is 
especially  troubled  and  restless  on  the  eve  of  national 
calamities  such  as  war.”  Under  the  circumstances,  one 
should  expect  the  shade  of  President  Lincoln  to  be  in 
around-the-clock  attendance  these  days  and  nights. 

* * * 

But  Lincoln  is  not  the  only  ghost  at  the  White 
House.  Household  members  of  President  Taft  have 
observed  the  ghost  of  Abigail  Adams  walking  right  through 
the  closed  doors  of  the  East  Room  with  her  arms  out- 
stretched. And  who  knows  what  other  specters  reside  in 
these  ancient  and  troubled  walls? 

That  all  is  not  known  about  the  White  House  may 
be  seen  from  a dispatch  of  the  New  York  Daily  News  dated 
November  25,  1969,  concerning  two  new  rooms  unearthed 
at  the  White  House.  “Two  hitherto  unknown  rooms, 


believed  to  date  back  to  the  time  of  Thomas  Jefferson, 
have  been  unearthed  in  the  White  House  a few  yards  away 
from  the  presidential  swimming  pool.  The  discovery  was 
made  as  excavation  continued  on  the  larger  work  area  for 
the  White  House  press  corps.  The  subterranean  rooms, 
which  White  House  curator  James  Ketchum  described  as 
storage  or  coal  bins,  were  believed  among  the  earliest  built 
at  the  White  House.  Filled  with  dirt,  they  contained  bro- 
ken artifacts  believed  to  date  back  to  President  Lincoln’s 
administration.” 

When  I discussed  my  difficulties  in  receiving  permis- 
sion for  a White  House  investigation  with  prominent  peo- 
ple in  Washington,  it  was  suggested  to  me  that  I turn  my 
attention  to  Ford’s  Theatre,  or  the  Parker  House — both 
places  associated  with  the  death  of  President  Lincoln.  I 
have  not  done  so,  for  the  simple  reason  that  in  my  estima- 
tion the  ghost  of  Lincoln  is  nowhere  else  to  be  found  but 
where  it  mattered  to  him:  in  the  White  House.  If  there  is  a 
transitory  impression  left  behind  at  Ford’s  Theatre,  where 
he  was  shot,  or  the  Parker  House,  where  he  eventually  died 
some  hours  later,  it  would  only  be  an  imprint  from  the 
past.  I am  sure  that  the  surviving  personality  of  President 
Lincoln  is  to  a degree  attached  to  the  White  House 
because  of  unfinished  business.  I do  not  think  that  this  is 
unfinished  only  of  his  own  time.  So  much  of  it  has  never 
been  finished  to  this  very  day,  nor  is  the  present  adminis- 
tration in  any  way  finishing  it.  To  the  contrary.  If  there 
ever  was  any  reason  for  Lincoln  to  be  disturbed,  it  is  now. 
The  Emancipation  Proclamation,  for  which  he  stood  and 
which  was  in  a way  the  rebirth  of  our  country,  is  still  only 
in  part  reality.  Lincoln's  desire  for  peace  is  hardly  met  in 
these  troubled  times.  I am  sure  that  the  disturbances  at  the 
White  House  have  never  ceased.  Only  a couple  of  years 
ago,  Lynda,  one  of  the  Johnson  daughters,  heard  someone 
knock  at  her  door,  opened  it,  and  found  no  one  outside. 
Telephone  calls  have  been  put  through  to  members  of  the 
presidential  family,  and  there  has  been  no  one  on  the  other 
end  of  the  line.  Moreover,  on  investigating,  it  was  found 
that  the  White  House  operators  had  not  rung  the  particular 
extension  telephones. 

It  is  very  difficult  to  dismiss  such  occurrences  as 
products  of  imagination,  coincidence,  or  “settling  of  an  old 
house.”  Everyone  except  a moron  knows  the  difference 
between  human  footsteps  caused  by  feet  encased  with  boots 
or  shoes,  and  the  normal  noises  of  an  old  house  settling 
slowly  and  a little  at  a time  on  its  foundation. 


Ring  Around  the  White  House 


121 


» 12 

The  Ill-fated  Kennedys: 

From  Visions  to  Ghosts 

“When  are  you  going  to  go  down  to  Dallas  and  find  out 
about  President  Kennedy?”  the  pleasant  visitor  inquired. 
He  was  a schoolteacher  who  had  come  to  me  to  seek  advice 
on  how  to  start  a course  in  parapsychology  in  his  part  of 
the  country. 

The  question  about  President  Kennedy  was  hardly 
new.  I had  been  asked  the  same  question  in  various  forms 
ever  since  the  assassination  of  John  F.  Kennedy,  as  if  I and 
my  psychic  helpers  had  the  duty  to  use  our  combined  tal- 
ents to  find  out  what  really  happened  at  the  School  Book 
Depository  in  Dallas.  I suppose  similar  conditions  pre- 
vailed after  the  death  of  Abraham  Lincoln.  People’s  curios- 
ity had  been  aroused,  and  with  so  many  unconfirmed 
rumors  making  the  rounds  the  matter  of  a President’s  sud- 
den death  does  become  a major  topic  of  conversation  and 
inquiry. 

I wasn’t  there  when  Lincoln  was  shot;  I was  around 
when  President  Kennedy  was  murdered.  Thus  I am  in  a 
fairly  good  position  to  trace  the  public  interest  with  the 
assassination  from  the  very  start. 

I assured  my  visitor  that  so  far  I had  no  plans  to  go 
down  to  Dallas  with  a medium  and  find  out  what  “really” 
happened.  I have  said  so  on  television  many  times.  When  I 
was  reminded  that  the  Abraham  Lincoln  murder  also  left 
some  unanswered  questions  and  that  I had  indeed  investi- 
gated it  and  come  up  with  startlingly  new  results  in  my 
book  Window  to  the  Past,  I rejoined  that  there  was  one 
basic  difference  between  the  Kennedy  death  and  the  assas- 
sination of  President  Lincoln:  Lincoln’s  ghost  has  been 
seen  repeatedly  by  reliable  witnesses  in  the  White  House; 
so  far  I have  not  received  any  reliable  reports  of  ghostly 
sightings  concerning  the  late  President  Kennedy.  In  my 
opinion,  this  meant  that  the  restlessness  that  caused  Lin- 
coln to  remain  in  what  used  to  be  his  working  world  has 
not  caused  John  F.  Kennedy  to  do  likewise. 

But  I am  not  a hundred  per  cent  sure  any  longer. 
Having  learned  how  difficult  it  is  to  get  information  about 
such  matters  in  Washington,  or  to  gain  admission  to  the 
White  House  as  anything  but  a casual  tourist — or,  of 
course,  on  official  business — I am  also  convinced  that 
much  may  be  suppressed  or  simply  disregarded  by  those  to 
whom  experiences  have  happened  simply  because  we  live 
in  a time  when  psychic  phenomena  can  still  embarrass 
those  to  whom  they  occur,  especially  if  they  have  a position 
of  importance. 

But  even  if  John  Fitzgerald  Kennedy  is  not  walking 
the  corridors  of  the  White  House  at  night,  bemoaning  his 
untimely  demise  or  trying  to  right  the  many  wrongs  that 

CHAPTER  FIVE:  Famous  Ghosts 


have  happened  in  this  country  since  he  left  us,  he  is  appar- 
ently doing  something  far  better.  He  communicates,  under 
special  conditions  and  with  special  people.  He  is  far  from 
“dead  and  gone,”  if  I am  to  believe  those  to  whom  these 
experiences  have  come.  Naturally,  one  must  sift  the  fantasy 
from  the  real  thing — even  more  so  when  we  are  dealing 
with  a famous  person.  I have  done  so,  and  I have  looked 
very  closely  at  the  record  of  people  who  have  reported  to 
me  psychic  experiences  dealing  with  the  Kennedy  family.  I 
have  eliminated  a number  of  such  reports  simply  because  I 
could  not  find  myself  wholly  convinced  that  the  one  who 
reported  it  was  entirely  balanced.  I have  also  eliminated 
many  other  reports,  not  because  I had  doubts  about  the 
emotional  stability  of  those  who  had  made  the  reports,  but 
because  the  reports  were  far  too  general  and  vague  to  be 
evidential  even  in  the  broadest  sense.  Material  that  was 
unsupported  by  witnesses,  or  material  that  was  presented 
after  the  fact,  was  of  course  disregarded. 

With  all  that  in  mind,  I have  come  to  the  conclusion 
that  the  Kennedy  destiny  was  something  that  could  not 
have  been  avoided  whether  or  not  one  accepts  the  old  Irish 
Kennedy  curse  as  factual. 

Even  the  ghostly  Kennedys  are  part  and  parcel  of 
American  life  at  the  present.  Why  they  must  pay  so  high  a 
price  in  suffering,  I cannot  guess.  But  it  is  true  that  the 
Irish  forebears  of  the  American  Kennedys  have  also  suf- 
fered an  unusually  high  percentage  of  violent  deaths  over 
the  years,  mainly  on  the  male  side  of  the  family.  There  is, 
of  course,  the  tradition  that  way  back  in  the  Middle  Ages  a 
Kennedy  was  cursed  for  having  incurred  the  wrath  of  some 
private  local  enemy.  As  a result  of  the  curse,  he  and  all  his 
male  descendants  were  to  die  violently  one  by  one.  To  dis- 
miss curses  as  fantasies,  or  at  the  very  best  workable  only 
because  of  fear  symptoms,  would  not  be  accurate.  I had 
great  doubts  the  effectiveness  of  curses  until  I came  across 
several  cases  that  allowed  of  no  other  explanation.  In  par- 
ticular, I refer  back  to  the  case  of  the  Wurmbrand  curse 
reported  by  me  in  Ghosts  of  the  Golden  West.  In  that  case 
the  last  male  descendant  of  an  illustrious  family  died  under 
mysterious  circumstances  quite  unexpectedly  even  while 
under  the  care  of  doctors  in  a hospital.  Thus,  if  the 
Kennedy  curse  is  operative,  nothing  much  can  be  done 
about  it. 

Perhaps  I should  briefly  explain  the  distinction 
between  ghosts  and  spirits  here,  since  so  much  of  the 
Kennedy  material  is  of  the  latter  kind  rather  than  the  for- 
mer. Ghosts  are  generally  tied  to  houses  or  definite  places 
where  their  physical  bodies  died  tragically,  or  at  least  in  a 
state  of  unhappiness.  They  are  unable  to  leave  the 
premises,  so  to  speak,  and  can  only  repeat  the  pattern  of 
their  final  moments,  and  are  for  all  practical  purposes  not 
fully  cognizant  of  their  true  state.  They  can  be  compared 
with  psychotics  in  the  physical  state,  and  must  first  be 
freed  from  their  own  self-imposed  delusions  to  be  able  to 
answer,  if  possible  through  a trance  medium,  or  to  leave 
and  become  free  spirits  out  in  what  Dr.  Joseph  Rhine  of 


122 


Duke  University  has  called  “the  world  of  the  mind,”  and 
which  I generally  refer  to  as  the  non-physical  world. 

Spirits,  on  the  other  hand,  are  really  people,  like  you 
and  me,  who  have  left  the  physical  body  but  are  very  much 
alive  in  a thinner,  etheric  body,  with  which  they  are  able  to 
function  pretty  much  the  same  as  they  did  in  the  physical 
body,  except  that  they  are  now  no  longer  weighed  down  by 
physical  objects,  distances,  time,  and  space.  The  majority 
of  those  who  die  become  free  spirits,  and  only  a tiny  frac- 
tion are  unable  to  proceed  to  the  next  stage  but  must 
remain  behind  because  of  emotional  difficulties.  Those  who 
have  gone  on  are  not  necessarily  gone  forever,  but  to  the 
contrary  they  are  able  and  frequently  anxious  to  keep  a 
hand  in  situations  they  have  left  unfinished  on  the  earth 
plane.  Death  by  violence  or  under  tragic  conditions  does 
not  necessarily  create  a ghost.  Some  such  conditions  may 
indeed  create  the  ghost  syndrome,  but  many  others  do  not. 

I should  think  that  President  Kennedy  is  in  the  latter 
group — that  is  to  say,  a free  spirit  capable  of  continuing  an 
interest  in  the  world  he  left  behind.  Why  this  is  so,  I will 
show  in  the  next  pages. 

* * * 

The  R.  Lumber  Company  is  a prosperous  firm  spe- 
cializing in  the  manufacture  and  wholesale  of  lumber.  It  is 
located  in  Georgia  and  the  owners,  Mr.  and  Mrs.  Bernard 
R.,  are  respected  citizens  in  their  community.  It  was  in 
April  of  1970  that  Mrs.  R.  contacted  me.  "I  have  just  fin- 
ished reading  your  book,  Life  After  Death,  and  could  not 
resist  your  invitation  to  share  a strange  experience  with 
you,”  she  explained,  “hoping  that  you  can  give  me  some 
opinion  regarding  its  authenticity. 

"I  have  not  had  an  opportunity  to  discuss  what  hap- 
pened with  anyone  who  is  in  any  way  psychic  or  clairvoy- 
ant. I have  never  tried  to  contact  anyone  close  to  the 
Kennedy s about  this,  as  of  course  I know  they  must  have 
received  thousands  of  letters.  Many  times  I feel  a little 
guilty  about  not  even  trying  to  contact  Mrs.  Kennedy  and 
the  children,  if  indeed  it  could  have  been  a genuine  last 
message  from  the  President.  It  strikes  me  as  odd  that  we 
might  have  received  it  or  imagined  we  received  it.  We  were 
never  fans  of  the  Kennedys,  and  although  we  were  cer- 
tainly sympathetic  to  the  loss  of  our  President,  we  were  not 
as  emotionally  upset  as  many  of  our  friends  were  who  were 
ardent  admirers. 

"I  am  in  no  way  psychic,  nor  have  I ever  had  any 
supernatural  experience  before.  I am  a young  homemaker 
and  businesswoman,  and  cannot  offer  any  possible  explana- 
tion for  what  happened. 

“On  Sunday  night,  November  24,  1963,  following 
John  F.  Kennedy’s  assassination,  my  family  and  I were  at 
home  watching  on  television  the  procession  going  through 
the  Capitol  paying  their  last  respects.  I was  feeling  very 
depressed,  especially  since  that  afternoon  Lee  Oswald  had 
also  been  killed  and  I felt  we  would  never  know  the  full 
story  of  the  assassination.  For  some  strange  reason,  I sud- 


denly thought  of  the  Ouija  board,  although  I have  never 
taken  the  answers  seriously  and  certainly  have  never  before 
consulted  it  about  anything  of  importance.  I asked  my 
teenage  daughter  to  work  the  board  with  me,  and  we  went 
into  another  room.  I had  never  tried  to  ‘communicate  with 
the  dead.’  I don’t  know  why  I had  the  courage  to  ask  the 
questions  I did  on  that  night,  but  somehow,  I felt  com- 
pelled to  go  on: 

Question:  Will  our  country  be  in  danger  without  Kennedy? 
Answer:  Strong  with,  weak  without  Kennedy,  plot — stop. 
Question:  Will  Ruby  tell  why  President  was  killed? 

Answer:  Ruby  does  not  know,  only  Oswald  and  I know. 
Sorry. 

Question:  Will  we  ever  know  why  Kennedy  was  killed? 
Answer:  Underground  and  Oswald  know,  Ruby  does  not 
know,  gangland  leader  caught  in  plot. 

Question:  Who  is  gangland  leader? 

Answer:  Can’t  tell  now. 

Question:  Why  did  Oswald  hate  President? 

Answer:  Negroes,  civil  rights  bill. 

Question:  Flave  Oswald’s  and  Kennedy's  spirits  met? 
Answer:  Yes.  No  hard  feelings  in  Fleaven. 

Question:  Are  you  in  contact  with  Kennedy? 

Answer:  Yes. 

Question:  Does  Kennedy  have  a message  he  would  send 
through  us? 

Answer:  Yes,  yes,  yes,  tell  J.,  C.,  and  J.J.  about  this. 

Thanks,  JFK. 

Question:  Can  Kennedy  give  us  some  nickname  to  authen- 
ticate this? 

Answer:  Only  nickname  ‘John  John.’ 

Question:  Do  you  really  want  us  to  contact  someone? 
Answer:  Yes,  but  wait  ‘til  after  my  funeral. 

Question:  Flow  can  we  be  sure  Jackie  will  see  our  letter? 
Answer:  Write  personal,  not  sympathy  business. 

Question:  Is  there  something  personal  you  could  tell  us  to 
confirm  this  message? 

Answer:  Prying  public  knows  all. 

Question:  Just  one  nickname  you  could  give  us? 

Answer:  J.J.  (John  John)  likes  to  swim  lots,  called  ‘Daddy’s 
little  swimmer  boy.’  Does  that  help?  JFK. 

Question:  Anything  else? 

Answer:  J.J.  likes  to  play  secret  game  and  bunny. 

Question:  What  was  your  Navy  Serial  number? 

The  Ill-fated  Kennedys: 
From  Visions  to  Ghosts 


123 


Answer:  109  P.T.  (jg)  Skipper — 5905.  [seemed  confused] 
Question:  Can  we  contact  you  again? 

Answer:  You,  JFK,  not  JFK  you. 

Question:  Give  us  address  of  your  new  home. 

Answer:  Snake  Mountain  Road. 

Question:  Will  Mrs.  Kennedy  believe  this,  does  she  believe 
in  the  supernatural? 

Answer:  Some — tired — that’s  all  tonight. 

"At  this  point  the  planchette  slid  off  the  bottom  of 
the  board  marked  ‘Good-by’  and  we  attempted  no  further 
questions  that  night. 

“The  board  at  all  times  answered  our  questions 
swiftly  and  deliberately,  without  hesitation.  It  moved  so 
rapidly,  in  fact,  that  my  daughter  and  I could  not  keep  up 
with  the  message  as  it  came.  We  called  out  the  letters  to  my 
eleven -year -old  daughter  who  wrote  them  down,  and  we 
had  to  unscramble  the  words  after  we  had  received  the 
entire  message.  We  had  no  intention  of  trying  to  communi- 
cate directly  with  President  Kennedy.  I cannot  tell  you  how 
frightened  I was  when  I asked  if  there  was  a message  he 
would  send  and  the  message  came  signed  ‘JFK.’ 

“For  several  days  after,  I could  not  believe  the  mes- 
sage was  genuine.  I have  written  Mrs.  Kennedy  several  let- 
ters trying  to  explain  what  happened,  but  have  never  had 
the  courage  to  mail  them. 

“None  of  the  answers  obtained  are  sensational,  most 
are  things  we  could  have  known  or  guessed.  The  answers 
given  about  ‘John  John’  and  ‘secret  game’  and  ‘bunny’ 
were  in  a magazine  which  my  children  had  read  and  1 had 
not.  However,  the  answer  about  John  John  being  called 
‘Daddy’s  little  swimmer  boy’  is  something  none  of  us  have 
ever  heard  or  read.  I have  researched  numerous  articles 
written  about  the  Kennedys  during  the  last  two  years  and 
have  not  found  any  reference  to  this.  I could  not  persuade 
my  daughter  to  touch  the  board  again  for  days.  We  tried 
several  times  in  December  1963,  but  were  unsuccessful. 
One  night,  just  before  Christmas,  a friend  of  mine  per- 
suaded my  daughter  to  work  the  board  with  her.  Perhaps 
the  most  surprising  message  came  at  this  time,  and  it  was 
also  the  last  one  we  ever  received.  We  are  all  Protestant 
and  the  message  was  inconsistent  with  our  religious  beliefs. 
When  they  asked  if  there  was  a message  from  President 
Kennedy,  the  planchette  spelled  out  immediately  “Thanks 
for  your  prayers  while  I was  in  Purgatory,  JFK.”‘ 

* * * 

% 

I have  said  many  times  in  print  and.on  television  that 
I take  a dim  view  of  Ouija  boards  in  general.  Most  of  the 
material  obtained  from  the  use  of  this  instrument  merely 
reflects  the  unconscious  of  one  or  both  sitters.  Occasion- 
ally, however,  Ouija  boards  have  been  able  to  tap  the  psy- 

CHAPTER  FIVE:  Famous  Ghosts 


chic  levels  of  a person  and  come  up  with  the  same  kind  of 
veridical  material  a clairvoyant  person  might  come  up  with. 
Thus,  to  dismiss  the  experiences  of  Mrs.  R.  merely  because 
the  material  was  obtained  through  a Ouija  board  would  not 
be  fair.  Taking  into  account  the  circumstances,  the  back- 
ground of  the  operators,  and  their  seeming  reluctance  to 
seek  out  such  channels  of  communication,  I must  dismiss 
ulterior  motives  such  as  publicity-seeking  reasons  or  idle 
curiosity  as  being  the  causative  factor  in  the  event.  On  the 
other  hand,  having  just  watched  a television  program  deal- 
ing with  the  demise  of  President  Kennedy,  the  power  of 
suggestion  might  have  come  into  play.  Had  the  material 
obtained  through  the  Ouija  board  been  more  specific  to  a 
greater  extent,  perhaps  I would  not  have  to  hesitate  to  label 
this  a genuine  experience.  While  there  is  nothing  in  the 
report  that  indicates  fraud — either  conscious  or 
unconscious — there  is  nothing  startling  in  the  information 
given.  Surely,  if  the  message  had  come  from  Kennedy,  or  if 
Kennedy  himself  had  been  on  the  other  end  of  the  psychic 
line,  there  would  have  been  certain  pieces  of  information 
that  would  have  been  known  only  to  him  and  that  could 
yet  be  checked  out  in  a way  that  was  accessible.  Surely, 
Kennedy  would  have  realized  how  difficult  it  might  have 
been  for  an  ordinary  homemaker  to  contact  his  wife.  Thus, 
it  seems  to  me  that  some  other  form  of  proof  of  identity 
would  have  been  furnished.  This,  however,  is  really  only 
speculation.  Despite  the  sincerity  of  those  reporting  the 
incident,  I feel  that  there  is  reasonable  doubt  as  to  the  gen- 
uineness of  the  communication. 

* * * 

By  far  the  majority  of  communications  regarding 
President  Kennedy  relate  to  his  death  and  are  in  the  nature 
of  premonitions,  dreams,  visions,  and  other  warnings  prior 
to  or  simultaneous  with  the  event  itself.  The  number  of 
such  experiences  indicates  that  the  event  itself  must  have 
been  felt  ahead  of  its  realization,  indicating  that  some  sort 
of  law  was  in  operation  that  could  not  be  altered,  even  if 
President  Kennedy  could  have  been  warned.  As  a matter  of 
fact,  I am  sure  that  he  was  given  a number  of  warnings, 
and  that  he  chose  to  disregard  them.  I don’t  see  how  he 
could  have  done  otherwise — both  because  he  was  the  Presi- 
dent and  out  of  a fine  sense  of  destiny  that  is  part  and  par- 
cel of  the  Kennedy  make-up.  Certainly  Jeane  Dixon  was  in 
a position  to  warn  the  President  several  times  prior  to  the 
assassination.  Others,  less  well  connected  in  Washington, 
might  have  written  letters  that  never  got  through  to  the 
President.  Certainly  one  cannot  explain  these  things  away 
merely  by  saying  that  a public  figure  is  always  in  danger  of 
assassination,  or  that  Kennedy  had  incurred  the  wrath  of 
many  people  in  this  country  and  abroad.  This  simply  does- 
n’t conform  to  the  facts.  Premonitions  have  frequently  been 
very  precise,  indicating  in  great  detail  the  manner,  time, 
and  nature  of  the  assassination.  If  it  were  merely  a matter 
of  vaguely  foretelling  the  sudden  death  of  the  President, 
then  of  course  one  could  say  that  this  comes  from  a study 


124 


of  the  situation  or  from  a general  feeling  about  the  times  in 
which  we  live.  But  this  is  not  so.  Many  of  the  startling 
predictions  couldn’t  have  been  made  by  anyone,  unless 
they  themselves  were  in  on  the  planning  of  the 
assassination. 

Mrs.  Rose  LaPorta  lives  in  suburban  Cleveland, 

Ohio.  Over  the  years  she  has  developed  her  ESP  faculties — 
partially  in  the  dream  state  and  partially  while  awake.  Some 
of  her  premonitory  experiences  are  so  detailed  that  they 
cannot  be  explained  on  the  basis  of  coincidence,  if  there  is 
such  a thing,  or  in  any  other  rational  terms.  For  instance, 
on  May  10,  1963,  she  dreamed  she  had  eaten  something 
with  glass  in  it.  She  could  even  feel  it  in  her  mouth,  so 
vividly  that  she  began  to  spit  it  out  and  woke  up.  On 
October  4 of  the  same  year,  after  she  had  forgotten  the 
peculiar  dream,  she  happened  to  be  eating  a cookie.  There 
was  some  glass  in  it,  and  her  dream  became  reality  in  every 
detail.  Fortunately,  she  had  told  several  witnesses  of  her 
original  dream,  so  she  was  able  to  prove  this  to  herself  on 
the  record. 

At  her  place  of  work  there  is  a superintendent  named 
Smith,  who  has  offices  in  another  city.  There  never  was 
any  close  contact  with  that  man,  so  it  was  rather  startling 
to  Mrs.  LaPorta  to  hear  a voice  in  her  sleep  telling  her, 

"Mr.  Smith  died  at  home  on  Monday.”  Shocked  by  this 
message,  she  discussed  it  with  her  coworkers.  That  was  on 
May  18,  1968.  On  October  8 of  the  same  year,  an 
announcement  was  made  at  the  company  to  the  effect  that 
"Mr.  Smith  died  at  home  on  Monday,  October  7.” 

Mrs.  LaPorta’s  ability  to  tune  in  on  future  events 
reached  a national  subject  on  November  17,  1963.  She 
dreamed  she  was  at  the  White  Flouse  in  Washington  on  a 
dark,  rainy  day.  There  were  beds  set  up  in  each  of  the  por- 
ticoes. She  found  herself,  in  the  dream,  moving  from  one 
bed  to  another,  because  she  wanted  to  shelter  herself  from 
the  rain.  There  was  much  confusion  going  on  and  many 
men  were  running  around  in  all  directions.  They  seemed  to 
have  guns  in  their  hands  and  pockets.  Finally,  Mrs. 

LaPorta,  in  the  dream,  asked  someone  what  was  happen- 
ing, and  they  told  her  they  were  Secret  Service  men.  She 
was  impressed  with  the  terrible  confusion  and  atmosphere 
of  tragedy  when  she  awoke  from  her  dream.  That  was  five 
days  before  the  assassination  happened  on  November  22, 
1963.  The  dream  is  somewhat  reminiscent  of  the  famed 
Abraham  Lincoln  dream,  in  which  he  himself  saw  his  own 
body  on  the  catafalque  in  the  East  Room,  and  asked  who 
was  dead  in  the  White  House.  I reported  on  that  dream  in 
Window  to  the  Past. 

* * * 

Marie  Howe  is  a Maryland  housewife,  fifty-two  years 
old,  and  only  slightly  psychic.  The  night  before  the  assassi- 
nation she  had  a dream  in  which  she  saw  two  brides  with 
the  features  of  men.  Upon  awakening  she  spoke  of  her 
dream  to  her  husband  and  children,  and  interpreted  it  that 
someone  was  going  to  die  very  soon.  She  thought  that  two 


persons  would  die  close  together.  The  next  day,  Kennedy 
and  Oswald  turned  into  the  "brides  of  death”  she  had  seen 
in  her  dream. 

* * * 

Bertha  Zelkin  lives  in  Los  Angeles.  The  morning  of 
the  assassination  she  suddenly  found  herself  saying,  “What 
would  we  do  if  President  Kennedy  were  to  die?”  That 
afternoon  the  event  took  place. 

* * * 

Marion  Confalonieri,  a forty-one-year-old  housewife 
and  a native  of  Chicago,  has  worked  as  a secretary,  and 
lives  with  her  husband,  a draftsman,  and  two  daughters  in 
a comfortable  home  in  California.  Over  the  years  she  has 
had  many  psychic  experiences,  ranging  from  deja  vu  feel- 
ings to  psychic  dreams.  On  Friday,  November  22,  the 
assassination  took  place  and  Oswald  was  captured  the  same 
day.  The  following  night,  Saturday,  November  23,  Mrs. 
Confalonieri  went  to  bed  exhausted  and  in  tears  from  all 
the  commotion.  Some  time  during  the  night  she  dreamed 
that  she  saw  a group  of  men,  perhaps  a dozen,  dressed  in 
suits  and  some  with  hats.  She  seemed  to  be  floating  a little 
above  them,  looking  down  on  the  scene,  and  she  noticed 
that  they  were  standing  very  close  in  a group.  Then  she 
heard  a voice  say,  “Ruby  did  it.”  The  next  morning  she 
gave  the  dream  no  particular  thought.  The  name  Ruby 
meant  absolutely  nothing  to  her  nor,  for  that  matter,  to 
anyone  else  in  the  country  at  that  point.  It  wasn’t  until  she 
turned  her  radio  on  and  heard  the  announcement  that 
Oswald  had  been  shot  by  a man  named  Ruby  that  she 
realized  she  had  had  a preview  of  things  to  come  several 
hours  before  the  event  itself  had  taken  place. 

* * * 

Another  one  who  tuned  in  on  the  future  a little  ahead 
of  reality  was  the  famed  British  author,  Pendragon,  whose 
real  name  was  L.  T.  Ackerman.  In  October  1963,  he 
wrote,  “I  wouldn’t  rule  out  the  possibility  of  attempted 
assassination  or  worse  if  caught  off  guard.”  He  wrote  to 
President  Kennedy  urging  him  that  his  guard  be  strength- 
ened, especially  when  appearing  in  public. 

* * * 

Dr.  Robert  G.  is  a dentist  who  makes  his  home  in 
Rhode  Island.  He  has  had  psychic  experiences  all  his  life, 
some  of  which  I have  described  elsewhere.  At  the  time 
when  Oswald  was  caught  by  the  authorities,  the  doctor’s 
wife  wondered  out  loud  what  would  happen  to  the  man. 
Without  thinking  what  he  was  saying,  Dr.  G.  replied,  “He 
will  be  shot  in  the  police  station.”  The  words  just  popped 
out  of  his  mouth.  There  was  nothing  to  indicate  even  a 
remote  possibility  of  such  a course  of  action. 

The  Ill-fated  Kennedys: 

From  Visions  to  Ghosts 


125 


He  also  had  a premonition  that  Robert  Kennedy 
would  be  shot,  but  he  thought  that  the  Senator  would  live 
on  with  impaired  faculties.  We  know,  of  course,  that  Sena- 
tor Kennedy  died.  Nevertheless,  as  most  of  us  will  remem- 
ber, for  a time  after  the  announcement  of  the  shooting 
there  was  hope  that  the  Senator  would  indeed  continue  to 
live,  although  with  impaired  faculties.  Not  only  did  the 
doctors  think  that  might  be  possible,  but  announcements 
were  made  to  that  effect.  Thus,  it  is  entirely  feasible  that 
Dr.  G.  tuned  in  not  only  on  the  event  itself  but  also  on  the 
thoughts  and  developments  that  were  part  of  the  event. 

As  yet  we  know  very  little  about  the  mechanics  of 
premonitions,  and  it  is  entirely  possible  that  some  psychics 
cannot  fine-tune  their  inner  instruments  beyond  a general 
pickup  of  future  material.  This  seems  to  relate  to  the 
inability  of  most  mediums  to  pinpoint  exact  time  in  their 
predictions. 

* * * 

Cecilia  Fawn  Nichols  is  a writer  who  lives  in 
Twenty-nine  Palms,  California.  All  her  life  she  has  had 
premonitions  that  have  come  true  and  has  accepted  the 
psychic  in  her  life  as  a perfectly  natural  element.  She  had 
been  rooting  for  John  F.  Kennedy  to  be  elected  President 
because  she  felt  that  his  Catholic  religion  had  made  him  a 
kind  of  underdog.  When  he  finally  did  get  the  nod,  Miss 
Nichols  found  herself  far  from  jubilant.  As  if  something 
foreboding  were  preying  heavily  on  her  mind,  she  received 
the  news  of  his  election  glumly  and  with  a feeling  of  disas- 
ter. At  the  time  she  could  not  explain  to  herself  why,  but 
the  thought  that  the  young  man  who  had  just  been  elected 
was  condemned  to  death  entered  her  mind.  “When  the 
unexpected  passes  through  my  mind,  I know  I can  expect 
it,”  she  explained.  “I  generally  do  not  know  just  how  or 
when  or  what.  In  this  case  I felt  some  idiot  was  going  to 
kill  him  because  of  his  religion.  I expected  the  assassination 
much  sooner.  Possibly  because  of  domestic  problems,  I 
wasn’t  expecting  it  when  it  did  happen.” 

On  Sunday  morning,  November  24,  she  was  starting 
breakfast.  Her  television  set  was  tuned  to  Channel  2,  and 
she  decided  to  switch  to  Channel  7 because  that  station 
had  been  broadcasting  the  scene  directly  from  Dallas.  The 
announcer  was  saying  that  any  moment  now  Oswald  would 
be  brought  out  of  jail  to  be  taken  away  from  Dallas.  The 
camera  showed  the  grim  faces  of  the  crowd.  Miss  Nichols 
took  one  look  at  the  scene  and  turned  to  her  mother. 
“Mama,  come  in  the  living  room.  Oswald  is  going  to  be 
killed  in  a few  minutes,  and  I don’t  want  to  miss  seeing 
it.” 

There  was  nothing  to  indicate  such  a course  of 
action,  of  course,  but  the  words  just  came  out  of  her  mouth 
as  if  motivated  by  some  outside  force.  A moment  later,  the 
feared  event  materialized.  Along  with  the  gunshot,  how- 
ever, she  distinctly  heard  words  said  that  she  was  never 

CHAPTER  FIVE:  Famous  Ghosts 


again  to  hear  on  any  rerun  of  the  televised  action.  The 
words  were  spoken  just  as  Ruby  lifted  his  arm  to  shoot.  As 
he  began  pressing  the  trigger,  the  words  and  the  gunshot 
came  close  together.  Afterwards  Miss  Nichols  listened  care- 
fully to  many  of  the  reruns  but  never  managed  to  hear  the 
words  again.  None  of  the  commentators  mentioned  them. 
No  account  of  the  killing  mentions  them.  And  yet  Miss 
Nichols  clearly  heard  Ruby  make  a statement  even  as  he 
was  shooting  Oswald  down. 

The  fact  that  she  alone  heard  the  words  spoken  by 
Ruby  bothered  Miss  Nichols.  In  1968  she  was  with  a 
group  of  friends  discussing  the  Oswald  killing,  and  again 
she  reported  what  she  had  heard  that  time  on  television. 
There  was  a woman  in  that  group  who  nodded  her  head. 
She  too  had  heard  the  same  words.  It  came  as  a great  relief 
to  Miss  Nichols  to  know  that  she  was  not  alone  in  her  per- 
ception. The  words  Ruby  spoke  as  he  was  shooting  Oswald 
were  words  of  anger:  “Take  this,  you  son  of  a bitch!” 

This  kind  of  psychic  experience  is  far  closer  to  truth- 
ful tuning  in  on  events  as  they  transpire,  or  just  as  they  are 
formulating  themselves,  than  some  of  the  more  complicated 
interpretations  of  events  after  they  have  happened. 

* * * 

Two  Cincinnati  amateur  mediums  by  the  names  of 
Dorothy  Barrett  and  Virginia  Hill,  who  have  given  out  pre- 
dictions of  things  to  come  to  the  newspapers  from  time  to 
time,  also  made  some  announcements  concerning  the 
Kennedy  assassination.  I have  met  the  two  ladies  at  the 
home  of  the  John  Straders  in  Cincinnati,  at  which  time 
they  seemed  to  be  imitating  the  Edgar  Cayce  readings  in 
that  they  pinpointed  certain  areas  of  the  body  subject  to  ill- 
ness. Again,  I met  Virginia  Hill  recently  and  was  con- 
fronted with  what  she  believes  is  the  personality  of  Edgar 
Cayce,  the  famous  seer  of  Virginia  Beach.  Speaking 
through  her,  I questioned  the  alleged  Edgar  Cayce  entity 
and  took  notes,  which  I then  asked  Cayce’s  son,  Hugh 
Lynn  Cayce,  to  examine  for  validity.  Regrettably,  most  of 
the  answers  proved  to  be  incorrect,  thus  making  the  iden- 
tity of  Edgar  Cayce  highly  improbable.  Nevertheless,  Vir- 
ginia Hill  is  psychic  and  some  of  her  predictions  have  come 
true. 

On  December  4,  1967,  the  Cincinnati  Inquirer  pub- 
lished many  of  her  predictions  for  the  following  year.  One 
of  the  more  startling  statements  is  that  there  were  sixteen 
people  involved  in  the  Kennedy  assassination,  according  to 
Virginia’s  spirit  guide,  and  that  the  leader  was  a woman. 
Oswald,  it  is  claimed,  did  not  kill  the  President,  but  a 
policeman  (now  dead)  did. 

In  this  connection  it  is  interesting  to  note  that  Sher- 
man Skolnick,  a researcher,  filed  suit  in  April  of  1970 
against  the  National  Archives  and  Records  Services  to 
release  certain  documents  concerning  the  Kennedy  assassi- 
nation— in  particular,  Skolnick  claimed  that  there  had  been 
a prior  Chicago  assassination  plot  in  which  Oswald  and  an 
accomplice  by  the  name  of  Thomas  Arthur  Vallee  and 


126 


three  or  four  other  men  had  been  involved.  Their  plan  to 
kill  the  President  at  a ball  game  had  to  be  abandoned  when 
Vallee  was  picked  up  on  a minor  traffic  violation  the  day 
before  the  game.  Skolnick,  according  to  Time  magazine’s 
article,  April  20,  1970,  firmly  believes  that  Oswald  and 
Vallee  and  several  others  were  linked  together  in  the  assas- 
sination plot. 

* * * 

When  it  comes  to  the  assassination  of  Senator  Robert 
Kennedy,  the  picture  is  somewhat  different.  To  begin  with, 
very  few  people  thought  that  Robert  Kennedy  was  in  mor- 
tal danger,  while  John  F.  Kennedy,  as  President,  was 
always  exposed  to  political  anger — as  are  all  Presidents. 
The  Senator  did  not  seem  to  be  in  quite  so  powerful  a 
position.  True,  he  had  his  enemies,  as  have  all  politicians. 
But  the  murder  by  Sirhan  Sirhan  came  as  much  more  of  a 
surprise  than  the  assassination  of  his  brother.  It  is  thus  sur- 
prising that  so  much  premonitory  material  exists  concern- 
ing Robert  Kennedy  as  well.  In  a way,  of  course,  this 
material  is  even  more  evidential  because  of  the  lesser  likeli- 
hood of  such  an  event  transpiring. 

Mrs.  Elaine  Jones  lives  in  San  Francisco.  Her  husband 
is  a retired  businessman;  her  brother-in-law  headed 
the  publishing  firm  of  Harper  & Row;  she  is  not  given  to 
hallucinations.  I have  reported  some  of  her  psychic  experi- 
ences elsewhere.  Shortly  before  the  assassination  of  Robert 
Kennedy  she  had  a vision  of  the  White  House  front.  At 
first  she  saw  it  as  it  was  and  is,  and  then  suddenly  the 
entire  front  seemed  to  crumble  before  her  eyes.  To  her  this 
meant  death  of  someone  connected  with  the  White  House. 
A short  time  later,  the  assassination  of  the  Senator  took 
place. 

* * * 

Months  before  the  event,  famed  Washington  seer 
Jeane  Dixon  was  speaking  at  the  Hotel  Ambassador  in  Los 
Angeles.  She  said  that  Robert  Kennedy  would  be  the  vic- 
tim of  a "tragedy  right  here  in  this  hotel.”  The  Senator  was 
assassinated  there  eight  months  later. 

* * * 

A young  Californian  by  the  name  of  Lorraine 
Caswell  had  a dream  the  night  before  the  assassination  of 
Senator  Kennedy.  In  her  dream  she  saw  the  actual  assassi- 
nation as  it  later  happened.  The  next  morning,  she 
reported  her  nightmare  to  her  roommate,  who  had  served 
as  witness  on  previous  occasions  of  psychic  premonition. 

* * * 

Ellen  Roberts  works  as  a secretary  and  part-time  vol- 
unteer for  political  causes  she  supports.  During  the  cam- 
paign of  Senator  Robert  Kennedy  she  spent  some  time  at 
headquarters  volunteering  her  services.  Miss  Roberts  is  a 
member  of  the  Reverend  Zenor’s  Hollywood  Spiritualist 
Temple.  Reverend  Zenor,  while  in  trance,  speaks  with  the 


voice  of  Agasha,  a higher  teacher,  who  is  also  able  to  fore- 
tell events  in  the  future.  On  one  such  occasion,  long  before 
the  assassination  of  John  F.  Kennedy,  Agasha — through 
Reverend  Zenor — had  said,  “There  will  be  not  one  assassi- 
nation, but  two.  He  will  also  be  quite  young.  Victory  will 
be  almost  within  his  grasp,  but  he  will  die  just  before  he 
assumes  the  office,  if  it  cannot  be  prevented.” 

The  night  of  the  murder,  Ellen  Roberts  fell  asleep 
early.  She  awakened  with  a scene  of  Robert  Kennedy  and 
President  Kennedy  talking.  John  F.  Kennedy  was  putting 
his  arm  around  his  brother’s  shoulders  and  she  heard  him 
say,  “Well,  Bobby,  you  made  it — the  hard  way.”  With  a 
rueful  smile  they  walked  away.  Miss  Roberts  took  this  to 
mean  the  discomfort  that  candidate  Robert  Kennedy  had 
endured  during  the  campaign — the  rock -throwing,  the 
insults,  name-callings,  and  his  hands  had  actually  become 
swollen  as  he  was  being  pulled.  Never  once  did  she  accept 
it  as  anything  more  sinister.  The  following  day  she  realized 
what  her  vision  had  meant. 

* * * 

A curious  thing  happened  to  Mrs.  Lewis  H.  Mac- 
Kibbel.  She  and  her  ten-year-old  granddaughter  were 
watching  television  the  evening  of  June  4,  1968.  Suddenly 
the  little  girl  jumped  up,  clasped  her  hands  to  her  chest, 
and  in  a shocked  state  announced,  "Robert  Kennedy  has 
been  shot.  Shot  down,  Mama.”  Her  sisters  and  mother 
teased  her  about  it,  saying  that  such  an  event  would  have 
been  mentioned  on  the  news  if  it  were  true.  After  a while 
the  subject  was  dropped.  The  following  morning,  June  5, 
when  the  family  radio  was  turned  on,  word  of  the  shooting 
came.  Startled,  the  family  turned  to  the  little  girl,  who 
could  only  nod  and  say,  “Yes  I know.  I knew  it  last  night.” 

* * * 

Mrs.  Dawn  Chorley  lives  in  central  Ohio.  A native  of 
England,  she  spent  many  years  with  her  husband  in  South 
Africa,  and  has  had  psychic  experiences  at  various  times  in 
her  life.  During  the  1968  election  campaign  she  and  her 
husband,  Colin  Chorley,  had  been  working  for  Eugene 
McCarthy,  but  when  Robert  Kennedy  won  the  primary  in 
New  Hampshire  she  was  very  pleased  with  that  too.  The 
night  of  the  election,  she  stayed  up  late.  She  was  very 
keyed  up  and  thought  she  would  not  be  able  to  sleep 
because  of  the  excitement,  but  contrary  to  her  expectations 
she  fell  immediately  into  a very  deep  sleep  around  mid- 
night. That  night  she  had  a curious  dream. 

"I  was  standing  in  the  central  downstairs’  room  of 
my  house.  I was  aware  of  a strange  atmosphere  around  me 
and  felt  very  lonely.  Suddenly  I felt  a pain  in  the  left  side 
of  my  head,  toward  the  back.  The  inside  of  my  mouth 
started  to  crumble  and  blood  started  gushing  out  of  my 
mouth.  I tried  to  get  to  the  telephone,  but  my  arms  and 

The  Ill-fated  Kennedys: 

From  Visions  to  Ghosts 


127 


legs  would  not  respond  to  my  will;  everything  was  disori- 
ented. Somehow  I managed  to  get  to  the  telephone  and 
pick  up  the  receiver.  With  tremendous  difficulty  I dialed 
for  the  operator,  and  I could  hear  a voice  asking  whether  I 
needed  help.  I tried  to  say,  ‘Get  a doctor,’  but  the  words 
came  out  horribly  slurred.  Then  came  the  realization  I was 
dying  and  I said,  'Oh  my  God,  I am  dying,’  and  sank  into 
oblivion.  I was  shouting  so  loud  I awoke  my  husband,  who 
is  a heavy  sleeper.  Shaking  off  the  dream,  I still  felt  terribly 
depressed.  My  husband,  Colin,  noticed  the  time.  Allowing 
for  time  changes,  it  was  the  exact  minute  Robert  Kennedy 
was  shot.” 

* * * 

Jill  Taggart  of  North  Hollywood,  California,  has  been 
working  with  me  as  a developing  medium  for  several  years 
now.  By  profession  a writer  and  model,  she  has  been  her 
own  worst  critic,  and  in  her  report  avoids  anything  that 
cannot  be  substantiated.  On  May  14,  1968,  she  had  meant 
to  go  to  a rally  in  honor  of  Senator  Robert  Kennedy  in  Van 
Nuys,  California.  Since  the  parade  was  only  three  blocks 
from  her  house,  it  was  an  easy  thing  for  her  to  walk  over. 
But  early  in  the  evening  she  had  resolved  not  to  go.  To 
begin  with,  she  was  not  fond  of  the  Senator,  and  she  hated 
large  crowds,  but  more  than  anything  she  had  a bad  feeling 
that  something  would  happen  to  the  Senator  while  he  was 
in  his  car.  On  the  news  that  evening  she  heard  that  the 
Senator  had  been  struck  in  the  temple  by  a flying  object 
and  had  fallen  to  his  knees  in  the  car.  The  news  also 
reported  that  he  was  all  right.  Jill,  however,  felt  that  the 
injury  was  more  serious  than  announced  and  that  the  Sen- 
ator’s reasoning  faculties  would  be  impaired  henceforth. 
“It’s  possible  that  it  could  threaten  his  life,”  she  reported. 
"I  know  that  temples  are  tricky  things.”  When  I spoke  to 
her  further,  pressing  for  details,  she  indicated  that  she  had 
then  felt  disaster  for  Robert  Kennedy,  but  her  logical  mind 
refused  to  enlarge  upon  the  comparatively  small  injury  the 
candidate  had  suffered.  A short  time  later,  of  course,  the 
Senator  was  dead — not  from  a stone  thrown  at  him  but 
from  a murderer’s  bullet.  Jill  Taggart  had  somehow  tuned 
in  on  both  events  simultaneously. 

* * * 

Seventeen-year-old  Debbie  Gaurlay,  a high  school 
student  who  also  works  at  training  horses,  has  had  ESP 
experiences  for  several  years.  Two  days  prior  to  the  assassi- 
nation of  Robert  Kennedy  she  remarked  to  a friend  by  the 
name  of  Debbie  Corso  that  the  Senator  would  be  shot  very 
shortly.  At  that  time  there  was  no  logical  reason  to  assume 
an  attempt  upon  the  Senator's  life. 

* * * 

John  Londren  is  a machine  fitter,  twenty-eight  years 
old,  who  lives  with  his  family  in  Hartford,  Connecticut. 

CHAPTER  FIVE:  Famous  Ghosts 


Frequently  he  has  had  dreams  of  events  that  have  later 
transpired.  In  March  1968  he  had  a vivid  dream  in  which 
he  saw  Senator  Robert  Kennedy  shot  while  giving  his  Inau- 
gural Address.  Immediately  he  told  his  wife  and  father 
about  the  dream,  and  even  wrote  a letter  to  the  Senator  in 
April  but  decided  not  to  send  it  until  after  the  election. 
Even  the  correct  names  of  the  assassin  and  of  two  people 
present  occurred  in  his  dream.  But  Mr.  Londren  dismissed 
the  dream  since  he  knew  that  Roosevelt  Grier  and  Rafe 
Johnson  were  sports  figures.  He  felt  they  would  be  out  of 
place  in  a drama  involving  the  assassination  of  a political 
candidate.  Nevertheless,  those  were  the  two  men  who  actu- 
ally subdued  the  killer. 

In  a subsequent  dream  he  saw  St.  Patrick’s  Cathedral 
in  New  York  during  Senator  Kennedy’s  funeral.  People 
were  running  about  in  a state  of  panic,  and  he  had  the  feel- 
ing that  a bombing  or  shooting  had  taken  place.  So  upset 
was  Mr.  Londren  by  his  second  dream  that  he  asked  his 
father,  who  had  a friend  in  Washington,  to  make  some 
inquiries.  Eventually  the  information  was  given  to  a Secret 
Service  man  who  respected  extrasensory  perception.  The 
New  York  City  bomb  squad  was  called  in  and  the  security 
around  the  Cathedral  was  doubled.  A man  with  an 
unloaded  gun  was  caught  fifteen  minutes  before  the  Presi- 
dent arrived  for  the  funeral  at  the  Cathedral.  Mr.  Lon- 
dren 's  second  dream  thus  proved  to  be  not  only  evidential 
but  of  value  in  preventing  what  might  have  been  another 
crime. 

* * * 

Another  amateur  prophet  is  Elaine  Morganelli,  a Los 
Angeles  housewife.  In  May  1967  she  predicted  in  writing 
that  President  Johnson  would  be  assassinated  on  June  4, 
and  sent  this  prediction  along  with  others  to  her  brother, 
Lewis  Olson.  What  she  actually  had  heard  was  “President 
assassination  June  4.”  Well,  President  Johnson  was  not 
assassinated,  but  on  June  5,  1968,  Robert  Kennedy,  a pres- 
idential candidate,  was  shot  to  death. 

A sixteen-year-old  teen-ager  from  Tennessee  named 
John  Humphreys  experienced  a vision  late  in  1963.  This 
happened  while  he  was  in  bed  but  not  yet  fully  asleep.  As 
he  looked  at  the  floor  of  his  room  he  saw  several  disembod- 
ied heads.  One  of  the  heads  was  that  of  President 
Kennedy,  who  had  just  been  assassinated.  The  others,  he 
did  not  recognize  at  the  time.  Later,  he  realized  who  they 
had  been.  One  was  the  head  of  Robert  Kennedy;  the  other 
of  Martin  Luther  King.  He  had  the  feeling  at  the  time  of 
the  vision  that  all  three  men  would  be  shot  in  the  head.  He 
also  remembered  two  other  heads — that  of  a Frenchman 
and  of  a very  large  Englishman — but  no  names. 

* * * 

On  April  16,  1968,  a Canadian  by  the  name  of  Mrs. 
Joan  Holt  wrote  to  the  Evening  Standard  premonition 
bureau  conducted  by  Peter  Fairley,  their  science  editor, 


128 


"Robert  Kennedy  to  follow  in  his  brother’s  footsteps  and 
face  similar  danger.” 

“There  is  going  to  be  a tragic  passing  in  the  Kennedy 
family  very  soon,”  said  British  medium  Minie  Bridges  at  a 
public  sitting  the  last  week  of  May  1968. 

* * * 

It  seems  clear  to  me  that  even  the  death  of  Senator 
Kennedy  was  part  of  a predestined  master  plan,  whether 
we  like  it  or  not.  Frequently,  those  who  are  already  on  the 
other  side  of  life  know  what  will  happen  on  earth,  and  if 
they  are  not  able  to  prevent  it,  they  are  at  least  ready  to 
help  those  who  are  coming  across  make  the  transition  as 
painlessly  as  possible  under  the  circumstances. 

To  many  people  of  Ireland,  the  Kennedys  are  great 
heroes.  Both  these  thoughts  should  be  kept  in  mind  as  I 
report  still  another  psychic  experience  concerning  the  death 
of  Robert  Kennedy. 

* * * 

A fifty-three-year-old  secretary  by  the  name  of  Mar- 
garet M.  Smith  of  Chicago,  Illinois,  was  watching  the 
Robert  Kennedy  funeral  on  television.  As  his  casket  was 
being  carried  out  of  the  church  to  the  hearse,  she  noticed  a 
row  of  men  standing  at  either  side  of  the  casket  with  their 
backs  to  it.  They  were  dressed  in  gray  business  suits,  very 
plain,  and  wore  gray  hats.  These  men  looked  very  solemn 
and  kept  their  eyes  cast  down.  To  her  they  looked  like 
natives  of  Ireland.  In  fact,  the  suits  looked  homespun.  As 
the  casket  went  past,  one  of  the  men  in  the  line  turned  his 
head  and  looked  at  the  casket.  Miss  Smith  thought  that  a 
person  in  a guard  of  honor  should  not  do  that,  for  she  had 
taken  the  man  in  the  gray  suit  as  part  of  an  honor  guard. 
Then  it  occurred  to  her  that  the  two  lines  of  men  were  a 
little  hazy,  in  a lighter  gray.  But  she  took  this  to  be  due  to 
the  television  set,  although  other  figures  were  quite  clear. 
Later  she  discussed  the  funeral  with  a friend  of  hers  in 
another  city  who  had  also  seen  the  same  broadcast.  She 
asked  her  friend  if  she  knew  who  the  men  in  gray  had 
been.  Her  friend  had  not  seen  the  men  in  gray,  nor  had 
any  of  the  others  she  then  asked  about  them.  Soon  it 
became  clear  to  Miss  Smith  that  she  alone  had  seen  the 
spirit  forms  of  what  she  takes  to  be  the  Kennedys’  Irish 
ancestors,  who  had  come  to  pay  their  last  respects  in  a fit- 
ting manner. 

* * * 

An  Indiana  amateur  prognosticator  with  a long  record 
of  predictions,  some  of  which  have  already  come  true  while 
others  are  yet  in  the  future,  has  also  contributed  to  the 
material  about  the  Kennedys.  On  August  7,  1968,  D. 
McClintic  stated  that  Jackie  Kennedy  would  be  married. 

At  the  time  no  such  event  was  in  the  offing.  On  September 
21,  1968,  Mr.  McClintic  stated  that  there  would  be  an 
attempted  kidnapping  of  one  of  the  Kennedy  boys.  At  the 
same  time  he  also  predicted  that  the  heads  of  the  FBI  and 


the  draft  would  be  replaced  within  a short  time.  “J.  E. 
Hoover  is  near  the  end  of  being  director.  Also  the  director 
of  the  draft,  Hershey,  is  on  the  way  out.” 

* * * 

D.  McClintic  predicted  on  January  18,  1969,  that 
Edward  Kennedy  would  not  run  for  President  in  1972 
because  he  might  still  be  worried  about  his  nephews.  Mr. 
McClintic  didn’t  spell  out  why  Senator  Kennedy  should  be 
concerned  about  his  nephews. 

* * * 

Another  amateur  psychic,  Robert  E.,  however,  did. 
On  March  10,  1970,  the  psychic  schoolteacher  stated,  "I 
mentioned  before  that  around  Easter  another  Kennedy,  one 
of  Senator  Robert  Kennedy’s  boys,  will  drown  in  a boating 
accident  off  the  coast  of  Virginia,  and  the  body  will  be 
found  between  April  1st  and  April  5th  in  a muddy  shallow 
near  a place  with  the  word  'mile'  in  it.  However,  within  a 
month  or  so  it  will  come  out  that  Senator  Ted  Kennedy 
covered  for  his  nephew,  who  was  actually  the  one  who  was 
in  the  car  with  the  girl  at  Chappaquiddick  Island.  The 
Senator  was  not  involved,  and  when  this  evidence  becomes 
known  Kennedy’s  popularity  will  soar.”  Naturally,  the  two 
psychics  do  not  know  of  each  other,  nor  did  they  ever  have 
any  contact  with  each  other. 

One  cannot  dismiss  Mr.  McClintic  too  lightly  when 
one  considers  that  on  January  18,  1969,  he  predicted  that 
at  the  next  election  in  England,  Labor  would  be  kicked  out 
of  office;  that  Joseph  Kennedy  would  die — which  he  did 
shortly  afterward;  that  the  war  in  Vietnam  would  go  on 
and  some  American  troops  would  be  withdrawn,  but  not 
too  many;  that  there  would  be  more  attacks  on  Israeli  air- 
planes carrying  passengers;  and  that  Jordan’s  throne  would 
be  shaky  again. 

* * * 

A different  kind  of  prognosticator  is  Fredric  Stoessel. 
A college  graduate  and  former  combat  Naval  officer,  he 
heads  his  own  business  firm  in  New  York,  specializing  in 
market  analysis  and  financing.  Mr.  Stoessel  is  a student  of 
Christian  Science  and  has  had  psychic  experiences  all  his 
life.  I have  written  of  his  predictions  concerning  the  future 
of  the  world  in  a book  entitled  The  Prophets  Speak.  How- 
ever, his  involvement  with  the  Kennedy  family  especially 
the  future  of  Ted  Kennedy,  is  somewhat  more  elaborate 
than  his  predictions  pertaining  to  other  events.  In  May 
1967  he  wrote  an  article  entitled,  "Why  Was  President 
Kennedy  Shot?”  In  Mr.  Stoessel’s  opinion  a Communist 
plot  was  involved.  Mr.  Stoessel  bases  his  views  on  a mix- 
ture of  logical  deduction,  evaluations  of  existing  political 
realities,  and  a good  measure  of  intuition  and  personal 


The  Ill-fated  Kennedys: 
From  Visions  to  Ghosts 


129 


insight  ranging  all  the  way  to  sixth  sense  and  psychic 
impressions. 

“There  is  some  growing  evidence  to  indicate  Senator 
Ted  Kennedy  may  have  been  set  up  for  this  incident.  By 
whom  is  not  certain,  but  we  suspect  the  fine  hand  of  orga- 
nized crime.”  Thus  stated  Fredric  Stoessel  in  February  of 
1970. 1 discussed  this  matter  with  him  on  April  3 of  the 
same  year  at  my  home.  Some  of  the  things  he  told  me  were 
off  the  record  and  I must  honor  his  request.  Other  details 
may  be  told  here.  Considering  Fredric  Stoessel’s  back- 
ground and  his  very  cautious  approach  when  making  state- 
ments of  importance  at  a time  the  Chappaquiddick  incident 
was  still  in  the  news,  I felt  that  perhaps  he  might  come  up 
with  angles  not  covered  by  anyone  else  before. 

"What  then  is  your  intuitive  feeling  about  Kennedy 
and  the  girl?  Was  it  an  accident?”  I asked.  I decided  to  use 
the  term  "intuitive”  rather  than  "psychic,”  although  that  is 
what  I really  meant. 

Mr.  Stoessel  thought  this  over  for  a moment.  "I  don’t 
think  it  was  an  accident.  I think  it  was  staged,  shall  we 
say.” 

“What  was  meant  to  happen?” 

"What  was  meant  to  happen  was  political  embarrass- 
ment for  Teddy  Kennedy.  They  were  just  trying  to  knock 
him  out  as  a political  figure.” 

“Do  you  think  that  he  was  aware  of  what  had  hap- 
pened— that  the  girl  had  drowned?” 

“No,  1 do  not.  I think  he  was  telling  the  truth  when 
he  said  that  he  was  in  a state  of  shock.” 

“Flow  did  ‘they’  engineer  the  accident?” 

“I  assume  that  he  may  have  been  drinking,  but 
frankly  it’s  an  assumption.  I think  they  would  just  wait 
until  they  had  the  right  setup.  Fm  sure  a man  like  that  was 
watched  very  carefully.” 

"ffave  you  any  feelings  about  Kennedy’s  future?” 

“I  think  Ted  Kennedy  will  make  a very  strong  bid 
for  the  presidency  in  1972. 1 do  not  think  he  will  be 
elected.” 

“Do  you  have  any  instinctive  feelings  about  any 
attack  upon  him?” 

"I  have  had  an  instinctive  feeling  that  there  would  be 
an  attack  on  Ted  Kennedy  from  the  civil  rights  elements. 

In  other  words,  I think  he  would  be  attacked  so  that  there 
would  be  a commotion  over  civil  rights.  Undoubtedly  Ted 
Kennedy  will  be  the  civil  rights  candidate.” 

“When  you  say  ‘attack,’  can  you  be  more  specific?” 

“I  think  it  will  be  an  assassination  attempt;  specific, 
shot.” 

“Successful  or  not?” 

“No,  unsuccessful.  This  is  instinctive.” 


“Flow  much  into  the  future  will  this  happen?” 

"I  think  it  will  happen  by  1972.  I'm  not  too  sure 
exactly  when,  but  I think  when  he  is  being  built  up  for  a 
candidate.” 

“As  far  as  the  other  Kennedys  were  concerned,  did 
you  at  any  time  have  any  visions,  impressions,  dreams,  or 
other  feelings  concerning  either  the  President  or  Bobby 
Kennedy?” 

“Well,  I had  a very  strong  sensation — in  fact  I wrote 
several  people — that  he  would  not  be  on  the  ticket  in  1964. 
I had  a strong  impression  that  John  F.  Kennedy  would  not 
be  around  for  some  reason  or  another.” 

"When  did  you  write  this?” 

“That  was  written  to  Perkins  Bass,  who  was  a Con- 
gressman in  New  Hampshire,  in  1962.” 

“Did  you  have  any  impressions  concerning  the  true 
murderer  of  John  F.  Kennedy  and  the  entire  plot,  if  any?” 

“As  soon  as  the  assassination  occurred,  in  those  three 
days  when  we  were  all  glued  to  the  television  sets,  I was 
inwardly  convinced  that  Oswald  did  not  kill  him.  My 
impression  of  that  was  immediately  reinforced,  because 
Oswald  was  asking  for  an  attorney  named  John  Abt,  who 
was  a lawyer  for  the  Communist  Party.  My  instinctive  feel- 
ing was  that  Castro  had  a lot  to  do  with  it.” 

“Prior  to  the  killing  of  Robert  Kennedy,  did  you  have 
any  inkling  that  this  was  going  to  happen?” 

“My  wife  reminded  me  that  I had  always  said  Bobby 
would  be  assassinated.  I said  that  for  several  months  after 
John  died.” 

"Do  you  believe  there  is  a Kennedy  curse  in 
operation?” 

"Yes.  I think  there  are  forces  surrounding  the 
Kennedy  family  that  will  bring  tragedy  to  most  every  one 
of  them.” 

“Will  we  have  another  Kennedy  President?” 

"I  don’t  think  so.  Although  I think  Teddy  will  make 
a strong  bid  for  it  this  next  time.” 

* * * 

Certainly  if  a direct  pipeline  could  be  established  to 
one  of  the  Kennedys — those  on  the  other  side  of  life,  that 
is — even  more  interesting  material  could  be  obtained.  But 
to  make  such  an  attempt  at  communication  requires  two 
very  definite  things:  one,  a channel  of  communication — 
that  is  to  say,  a medium  of  the  highest  professional  and 
ethical  reputation — and  two,  the  kind  of  questions  that 
could  establish,  at  least  to  the  point  of  reasonable  doubt, 
that  communication  really  did  occur  between  the  investiga- 
tor and  the  deceased. 


CHAPTER  FIVE:  Famous  Ghosts 


130 


* 13 

Michie  Tavern,  Jefferson, 
and  the  Boys 

“This  typical  pre-Revolutionary  tavern  was  a 
favorite  stopping  place  for  travelers,”  the  official  guide  to 
Charlottesville  says.  "With  its  colonial  furniture  and  china, 
its  beamed  and  paneled  rooms,  it  appears  much  the  way  it 
did  in  the  days  when  Jefferson  and  Monroe  were  visitors. 
Monroe  writes  of  entertaining  Lafayette  as  his  guest  at  din- 
ner here,  and  General  Andrew  Jackson,  fresh  from  his  vic- 
tory at  New  Orleans,  stopped  over  on  his  way  to 
Washington.” 

The  guide,  however,  does  not  mention  that  the  tavern 
was  moved  a considerable  distance  from  its  original  place 
to  a much  more  accessible  location  where  the  tourist  trade 
could  benefit  from  it  more.  Regardless  of  this  compara- 
tively recent  change  of  position,  the  tavern  is  exactly  as  it 
was,  with  everything  inside,  including  its  ghosts,  intact.  At 
the  original  site,  it  was  surrounded  by  trees  which  framed 
it  and  sometimes  towered  over  it.  At  the  new  site,  facing 
the  road,  it  looks  out  into  the  Virginia  countryside  almost 
like  a manor  house.  One  walks  up  to  the  wooden  structure 
over  a number  of  steps  and  enters  the  old  tavern  to  the  left 
or,  if  one  prefers,  the  pub  to  the  right,  which  is  nowadays  a 
coffee  shop.  Taverns  in  the  eighteenth  and  early  nineteenth 
centuries  were  not  simply  bars  or  inns;  they  were  meeting 
places  where  people  could  talk  freely,  sometimes  about 
political  subjects.  They  were  used  as  headquarters  for  Rev- 
olutionary movements  or  for  invading  military  forces.  Most 
taverns  of  any  size  had  ballrooms  in  which  the  social  func- 
tions of  the  area  could  be  held.  Only  a few  private  individ- 
uals were  wealthy  enough  to  have  their  own  ballrooms 
built  into  their  manor  houses. 

What  is  fortunate  about  Michie  Tavern  is  the  fact 
that  everything  is  pretty  much  as  it  was  in  the  eighteenth 
century,  and  whatever  restorations  have  been  undertaken 
are  completely  authentic.  The  furniture  and  cooking  uten- 
sils, the  tools  of  the  innkeeper,  the  porcelain,  the  china,  the 
metal  objects  are  all  of  the  period,  whether  they  had  been 
in  the  house  or  not.  As  is  customary  with  historical  restora- 
tions or  preservations,  whatever  is  missing  in  the  house  is 
supplied  by  painstaking  historical  research,  and  objects  of 
the  same  period  and  the  same  area  are  substituted  for  those 
presumably  lost  during  the  intervening  period. 

The  tavern  has  three  floors  and  a large  number  of 
rooms,  so  we  would  need  the  two  hours  we  had  allowed 
ourselves  for  the  visit.  After  looking  at  the  downstairs  part 
of  the  tavern,  with  its  "common”  kitchen  and  the  over-long 
wooden  table  where  two  dozen  people  could  be  fed,  we 
mounted  the  stairs  to  the  second  floor. 

Ingrid,  the  medium,  kept  looking  into  various  rooms, 
sniffing  out  the  psychic  presences,  as  it  were,  while  I fol- 
lowed close  behind.  Horace  Burr  and  Virginia  Cloud  kept  a 
respectable  distance,  as  if  trying  not  to  “frighten”  the 


ghosts  away.  That  was  all  right  with  me,  because  I did  not 
want  Ingrid  to  tap  the  unconscious  of  either  one  of  these 
very  knowledgeable  people. 

Finally  we  arrived  in  the  third -floor  ballroom  of  the 
old  tavern.  I asked  Ingrid  what  she  had  felt  in  the  various 
rooms  below.  “In  the  pink  room  on  the  second  floor  I felt 
an  argument  or  some  sort  of  strife  but  nothing  special  in 
any  of  the  other  rooms.” 

"What  about  this  big  ballroom?” 

“I  can  see  a lot  of  people  around  here.  There  is  a gay 
atmosphere,  and  I think  important  people  came  here;  it  is 
rather  exclusive,  this  room.  I think  it  was  used  just  on  spe- 
cial occasions.” 

By  now  I had  waved  Horace  and  Virginia  to  come 
closer,  since  it  had  become  obvious  to  me  that  they  wanted 
very  much  to  hear  what  Ingrid  was  saying.  Possibly  new 
material  might  come  to  light,  unknown  to  both  of  these 
historians,  in  which  case  they  might  verify  it  later  on  or 
comment  upon  it  on  the  spot. 

"I’m  impressed  with  an  argument  over  a woman 
here,”  Ingrid  continued.  "It  has  to  do  with  one  of  the  dig- 
nitaries, and  it  is  about  one  of  their  wives.” 

“How  does  the  argument  end?” 

“I  think  they  just  had  a quick  argument  here,  about 
her  infidelity.” 

“Who  are  the  people  involved?” 

“I  think  Hamilton.  I don’t  know  the  woman’s  name.” 

“Who  is  the  other  man?” 

“I  think  Jefferson  was  here.” 

"Try  to  get  as  much  of  the  argument  as  you  can.” 

Ingrid  closed  her  eyes,  sat  down  in  a chair  generally 
off  limits  to  visitors,  and  tried  to  tune  in  on  the  past.  “I  get 
the  argument  as  a real  embarrassment,”  she  began.  “The 
woman  is  frail,  she  has  a long  dress  on  with  lace  at  the  top 
part  around  the  neck,  her  hair  is  light  brown.” 

“Does  she  take  part  in  the  argument?” 

“Yes,  she  has  to  side  with  her  husband.” 

“Describe  her  husband.” 

"I  can’t  see  his  face,  but  he  is  dressed  in  a brocade 
jacket  pulled  back  with  buttons  down  the  front  and 
breeches.  It  is  a very  fancy  outfit.” 

“How  does  it  all  end?” 

“Well,  nothing  more  is  said.  It  is  just  a terrible 
embarrassment.” 

“Is  this  some  sort  of  special  occasion?  Are  there  other 
people  here?” 

“Yes,  oh,  yes.  It  is  like  an  anniversary  or  something 
of  that  sort.  Perhaps  a political  anniversary  of  some  kind. 
There  is  music  and  dancing  and  candlelight." 

While  Ingrid  was  speaking,  in  an  almost  inaudible 
voice,  Horace  and  Virginia  were  straining  to  hear  what  she 
was  saying  but  not  being  very  successful  at  it.  At  this  point 
Horace  waved  to  me,  and  I tiptoed  over  to  him.  “Ask  her 
to  get  the  period  a little  closer,”  he  whispered  in  my  ear. 

Michie  Tavern,  Jefferson,  and  the  Boys 


131 


Michie  Tavern — 
Charlottesville,  Virginia 


I went  back  to  Ingrid  and  put  the  question  to  her.  “I 
think  it  was  toward  the  end  of  the  war,”  she  said,  “toward 
the  very  end  of  it.  For  some  time  now  I've  had  the  figure 
1781  impressed  on  my  mind.” 

Since  nothing  further  seemed  to  be  forthcoming  from 
Ingrid  at  this  point,  I asked  her  to  relax  and  come  back  to 
the  present,  so  that  we  could  discuss  her  impressions 
freely. 

“The  name  Hamilton  is  impossible  in  this  connec- 
tion,” Horace  Burr  began.  But  I was  quick  to  interject  that 
the  name  Hamilton  was  fairly  common  in  the  late  eigh- 
teenth and  early  nineteenth  centuries  and  that  Ingrid  need 
not  have  referred  to  the  Alexander  Hamilton.  "Jefferson 
was  here  many  times,  and  he  could  have  been  involved  in 
this,”  Burr  continued.  “I  think  I know  who  the  other  man 
might  have  been.  But  could  we,  just  for  once,  try  question- 
ing the  medium  on  specific  issues?” 

Neither  Ingrid  nor  I objected,  and  Horace  proceeded 
to  ask  Ingrid  to  identify  the  couple  she  had  felt  in  the  ball- 
room. Ingrid  threw  her  head  back  for  a moment,  closed  her 
eyes,  and  then  replied,  “The  man  is  very  prominent  in  pol- 
itics, one  of  the  big  three  or  four  at  the  time,  and  one  of 
the  reasons  this  is  all  so  embarrassing,  from  what  I get,  is 
that  the  other  man  is  of  much  lower  caliber.  He  is  not  one 
of  the  big  leaders;  he  may  be  an  officer  or  something  like 
that." 

While  Ingrid  was  speaking,  slowly,  as  it  were,  I again 
felt  the  strange  sense  of  transportation,  of  looking  back  in 
time,  which  had  been  coming  to  me  more  and  more  often 

CHAPTER  FIVE:  Famous  Ghosts 
132 


recently,  always  unsought  and  usually  only  of  fleeting  dura- 
tion. “For  what  it  is  worth,”  I said,  “while  Ingrid  is  speak- 
ing, I also  get  a very  vague  impression  that  all  this  has 
something  to  do  with  two  sisters.  It  concerns  a rivalry 
between  two  sisters.” 

“The  man’s  outfit,”  Ingrid  continued  her  narrative, 
“was  sort  of  gold  and  white  brocade  and  very  fancy.  He 
was  the  husband.  I don’t  see  the  other  man.” 

Horace  seemed  unusually  agitated  at  this.  “Tell  me, 
did  this  couple  live  in  this  vicinity  or  did  they  come  from 
far  away  on  a special  anniversary?” 

“They  lived  in  the  vicinity  and  came  just  for  the 
evening.” 

“Well,  Horace?"  I said,  getting  more  and  more  curi- 
ous, since  he  was  apparently  driving  in  a specific  direction. 
“What  was  this  all  about?" 

For  once,  Horace  enjoyed  being  the  center  of  attrac- 
tion. “Well,  it  was  a hot  and  heavy  situation,  all  right.  The 
couple  were  Mr.  and  Mrs.  John  Walker — he  was  the  son 
of  Dr.  Walker  of  Castle  Hill.  And  the  man,  who  wasn’t 
here,  was  Jefferson  himself.  Ingrid  is  right  in  saying  that 
they  lived  in  the  vicinity — Castle  Hill  is  not  far  away  from 
here.” 

“But  what  about  the  special  festivity  that  brought 
them  all  together  here?” 

Horace  wasn’t  sure  what  it  could  have  been,  but  Vir- 
ginia, in  great  excitement,  broke  in.  “It  was  in  this  room 
that  the  waltz  was  danced  for  the  first  time  in  America.  A 
young  man  had  come  from  France  dressed  in  very  fancy 
clothes.  The  lady  he  danced  with  was  a closely  chaperoned 
girl  from  Charlottesville.  She  was  very  young,  and  she 


danced  the  waltz  with  this  young  man,  and  everybody  in 
Charlottesville  was  shocked.  The  news  went  around  town 
that  the  young  lady  had  danced  with  a man  holding  her, 
and  that  was  just  terrible  at  the  time.  Perhaps  that  was  the 
occasion.  Michie  Tavern  was  a stopover  for  stagecoaches, 
and  Jefferson  and  the  local  people  would  meet  here  to  get 
their  news.  Downstairs  was  the  meeting  room,  but  up  here 
in  the  ballroom  the  more  special  events  took  place,  such  as 
the  introduction  of  the  waltz." 

I turned  to  Horace  Burr.  ‘‘How  is  it  that  this  tavern 
no  longer  stands  on  the  original  site?  I understand  it  has 
been  moved  here  for  easier  tourist  access.” 

“Yes,”  Horace  replied.  “The  building  originally  stood 
near  the  airport.  In  fact,  the  present  airport  is  on  part  of 
the  old  estate  that  belonged  to  Colonel  John  Henry,  the 
father  of  Patrick  Henry.  Young  Patrick  spent  part  of  his 
boyhood  there.  Later,  Colonel  Henry  sold  the  land  to  the 
Michies.  This  house  was  then  their  main  house.  It  was  on 
the  old  highway.  In  turn,  they  built  themselves  an  elabo- 
rate mansion  which  is  still  standing  and  turned  this  house 
into  a tavern.  All  the  events  we  have  been  discussing  took 
place  while  this  building  was  on  the  old  site.  In  1926  it  was 
moved  here.  Originally,  I think  the  ballroom  we  are  stand- 
ing in  now  was  just  the  loft  of  the  old  Henry  house.  They 
raised  part  of  the  roof  to  make  it  into  a ballroom  because 
they  had  no  meeting  room  in  the  tavern.” 

In  the  attractively  furnished  coffee  shop  to  the  right 
of  the  main  tavern,  Mrs.  Juanita  Godfrey,  the  manager, 
served  us  steaming  hot  black  coffee  and  sat  down  to  chat 
with  us.  Had  anyone  ever  complained  about  unusual  noises 
or  other  inexplicable  manifestations  in  the  tavern?  I asked. 

“Some  of  the  employees  who  work  here  at  night  do 
hear  certain  sounds  they  can’t  account  for,”  Mrs.  Godfrey 
replied.  “They  will  hear  something  and  go  and  look,  and 
there  will  be  nothing  there.” 

"In  what  part  of  the  building?” 

“All  over,  even  in  this  area.  This  is  a section  of  the 
slave  quarters,  and  it  is  very  old.” 

Mrs.  Godfrey  did  not  seem  too  keen  on  psychic 
experiences,  I felt.  To  the  best  of  her  knowledge,  no  one 
had  had  any  unusual  experiences  in  the  tavern.  “What 
about  the  lady  who  slept  here  one  night?”  I inquired. 

“You  mean  Mrs.  Milton — yes,  she  slept  here  one 
night.”  But  Mrs.  Godfrey  knew  nothing  of  Mrs.  Milton’s 
experiences. 

However,  Virginia  had  met  the  lady,  who  was  con- 
nected with  the  historical  preservation  effort  of  the  commu- 


Monticello — Thomas  Jefferson’s  home 


nity.  “One  night  when  Mrs.  Milton  was  out  of  town,”  Vir- 
ginia explained,  "I  slept  in  her  room.  At  the  time  she  con- 
fessed to  me  that  she  had  heard  footsteps  frequently, 
especially  on  the  stairway  down.” 

"That  is  the  area  she  slept  in,  yes,”  Mrs.  Godfrey 
confirmed.  “She  slept  in  the  ladies’  parlor  on  the  first 
floor.” 

“What  about  yourself,  Virginia?  Did  you  hear 
anything?” 

"I  heard  noises,  but  the  wood  sometimes  behaves 
very  funny.  She,  however,  said  they  were  definitely  foot- 
steps. That  was  in  1961.” 

What  had  Ingrid  unearthed  in  the  ballroom  of 
Michie  Tavern?  Was  it  merely  the  lingering  imprint  of 
America’s  first  waltz,  scandalous  to  the  early  Americans 
but  innocent  in  the  light  of  today?  Or  was  it  something 
more — an  involvement  between  Mrs.  Walker  and  the  illus- 
trious Thomas  Jefferson?  My  image  of  the  great  American 
had  always  been  that  of  a man  above  human  frailties.  But 
my  eyes  were  to  be  opened  still  further  on  a most  intrigu- 
ing visit  to  Monticello,  Jefferson’s  home. 


Michie  Tavern,  Jefferson,  and  the  Boys 


133 


» 14 

A Visit  with  the  Spirited  Jefferson 

‘You’re  WELCOME  TO  visit  Monticello  to  continue  the 
parapsychological  research  which  you  are  conducting  rela- 
tive to  the  personalities  of  1776,”  wrote  James  A.  Bear,  Jr., 
of  the  Thomas  Jefferson  Memorial  Foundation,  and  he 
arranged  for  us  to  go  to  the  popular  tourist  attraction  after 
regular  hours,  to  permit  Ingrid  the  peace  and  tranquility 
necessary  to  tune  in  on  the  very  fragile  vibrations  that 
might  hang  on  from  the  past. 

Jefferson,  along  with  Benjamin  Franklin,  is  a widely 
popular  historical  figure:  a play,  a musical,  and  a musical 
film  have  brought  him  to  life,  showing  him  as  the  shy, 
dedicated,  intellectual  architect  of  the  Declaration  of  Inde- 
pendence. Jefferson,  the  gentle  Virginia  farmer,  the  man 
who  wants  to  free  the  slaves  but  is  thwarted  in  his  efforts 
by  other  Southerners;  Jefferson,  the  ardent  but  bashful 
lover  of  his  wife;  Jefferson,  the  ideal  of  virtue  and  Ameri- 
can patriotism — these  are  the  images  put  across  by  the 
entertainment  media,  by  countless  books,  and  by  the 
tourist  authorities  which  try  to  entice  visitors  to  come  to 
Charlottesville  and  visit  Jefferson’s  home,  Monticello. 

Even  the  German  tourist  service  plugged  itself  into 
the  Jefferson  boom.  “This  is  like  a second  mother  country 
for  me,”  Thomas  Jefferson  is  quoted  as  saying  while  travel- 
ing down  the  Rhine.  “Everything  that  isn’t  English  in  our 
country  comes  from  here.”  Jefferson  compared  the  German 
Rhineland  to  certain  portions  of  Maryland  and  Pennsylva- 
nia and  pointed  out  that  the  second  largest  ethnic  group  in 
America  at  the  time  were  Germans.  In  an  article  in  the 
German  language  weekly  Aufbau,  Jefferson  is  described  as 
the  first  prominent  American  tourist  in  the  Rhineland.  His 
visit  took  place  in  April  1788.  At  the  time  Jefferson  was 
ambassador  to  Paris,  and  the  Rhine  journey  allowed  him  to 
study  agriculture,  customs,  and  conditions  on  both  sides  of 
the  Rhine.  Unquestionably,  Jefferson,  along  with  Washing- 
ton, Franklin,  and  Lincoln,  represents  one  of  the  pillars  of 
the  American  edifice. 

Virginia  Cloud,  ever  the  avid  historian  of  her  area, 
points  out  that  not  only  did  Jefferson  and  John  Adams 
have  a close  relationship  as  friends  and  political  contempo- 
raries but  there  were  certain  uncanny  “coincidences” 
between  their  lives.  For  instance,  Jefferson  and  Adams  died 
within  hours  of  each  other,  Jefferson  in  Virginia  and 
Adams  in  Massachusetts,  on  July  4,  1826 — exactly  fifty 
years  to  the  day  they  had  both  signed  the  Declaration  of 
Independence.  Adams’s  last  words  were,  “But  Jefferson 
still  lives.”  At  the  time  that  was  no  longer  true,  for  Jeffer- 
son had  died  earlier  in  the  day. 

Jefferson’s  imprint  is  all  over  Charlottesville.  Not 
only  did  the  talented  “Renaissance  man”  design  his  own 
home,  Monticello,  but  he  also  designed  the  Rotunda,  the 

CHAPTER  FIVE:  Famous  Ghosts 
134 


focal  point  of  the  University  of  Virginia.  Jefferson,  Madi- 
son, and  Monroe  were  members  of  the  first  governing 
board  of  the  University,  which  is  now  famous  for  its  school 
of  medicine — and  which,  incidentally,  is  the  leading  uni- 
versity in  the  study  of  parapsychology,  since  Dr.  Ian 
Stevenson  teaches  there. 

On  our  way  to  Monticello  we  decided  to  visit  the  old 
Swan  Tavern,  which  had  some  important  links  with  Jeffer- 
son. The  tavern  is  now  used  as  a private  club,  but  the 
directors  graciously  allowed  us  to  come  in,  even  the  ladies, 
who  are  generally  not  admitted.  Nothing  in  the  appoint- 
ments reminds  one  of  the  old  tavern,  since  the  place  has 
been  extensively  remodeled  to  suit  the  requirements  of  the 
private  club.  At  first  we  inspected  the  downstairs  and 
smiled  at  several  elderly  gentlemen  who  hadn’t  the  slightest 
idea  why  we  were  there.  Then  we  went  to  the  upper  story 
and  finally  came  to  rest  in  a room  to  the  rear  of  the  build- 
ing. As  soon  as  Ingrid  had  seated  herself  in  a comfortable 
chair  in  a corner,  I closed  the  door  and  asked  her  what  she 
felt  about  this  place,  of  which  she  had  no  knowledge. 

"I  feel  that  people  came  here  to  talk  things  over  in  a 
lighter  vein,  perhaps  over  a few  drinks.” 

"Was  there  anyone  in  particular  who  was  outstanding 
among  these  people?” 

"I  keep  thinking  of  Jefferson,  and  I’m  seeing  big 
mugs;  most  of  the  men  have  big  mugs  in  front  of  them.” 

Considering  that  Ingrid  did  not  know  the  past  of  the 
building  as  a tavern,  this  was  pretty  evidential.  I asked  her 
about  Jefferson. 

“I  think  he  was  the  figurehead.  This  matter  con- 
cerned him  greatly,  but  I don’t  think  it  had  anything  to  do 
with  his  own  wealth  or  anything  like  that.” 

“At  the  time  when  this  happened,  was  there  a warlike 
action  in  progress?” 

"Yes,  I think  it  was  on  the  outskirts  of  town.  I have 
the  feeling  that  somebody  was  trying  to  reach  this  place 
and  that  they  were  waiting  for  somebody,  and  yet  they 
weren’t  really  expecting  that  person.” 

Both  Horace  Burr  and  Virginia  Cloud  were  visibly 
excited  that  Ingrid  had  put  her  finger  on  it,  so  to  speak. 
Virginia  had  been  championing  the  cause  of  the  man  about 
whom  Ingrid  had  just  spoken.  “Virginians  are  always 
annoyed  to  hear  about  Paul  Revere,  who  was  actually  an 
old  man  with  a tired  horse  that  left  Revere  to  walk  home,” 
Virginia  said,  somewhat  acidly,  “while  Jack  Jouett  did  far 
more — he  saved  the  lives  of  Thomas  Jefferson  and  his  leg- 
islators. Yet,  outside  of  Virginia,  few  have  ever  heard  of 
him.” 

‘Perhaps  Jouett  didn’t  have  as  good  a press  agent  as 
Paul  Revere  had  in  Longfellow,  as  you  always  say,  Vir- 
ginia,” Burr  commented.  I asked  Virginia  to  sum  up  the 
incident  that  Ingrid  had  touched  on  psychically. 

“Jack  Jouett  was  a native  of  Albemarle  County  and 
was  of  French  Huguenot  origin.  His  father,  Captain  John 
Jouett,  owned  this  tavern.” 


“We  think  there  is  a chance  that  he  also  owned  the 
Cuckoo  Tavern  in  Louisa,  forty  miles  from  here,”  Burr 
interjected. 

“Jouett  had  a son  named  Jack  who  stood  six  feet, 
four  inches  and  weighed  over  two  hundred  pounds.  He  was 
an  expert  rider  and  one  of  those  citizens  who  signed  the 
oath  of  allegiance  to  the  Commonwealth  of  Virginia  in 
1779. 

“It  was  June  3,  1781,  and  the  government  had  fled  to 
Charlottesville  from  the  advancing  British  troops.  Most  of 
Virginia  was  in  British  hands,  and  General  Cornwallis  very 
much  wanted  to  capture  the  leaders  of  the  Revolution, 
especially  Thomas  Jefferson,  who  had  authored  the  Decla- 
ration of  Independence,  and  Patrick  Henry,  whose  motto, 
‘Give  me  liberty  or  give  me  death,’  had  so  much  con- 
tributed to  the  success  of  the  Revolution.  In  charge  of  two 
hundred  fifty  cavalrymen  was  Sir  Banastre  Tarleton.  His 
mission  was  to  get  to  Charlottesville  as  quickly  as  possible 
to  capture  the  leaders  of  the  uprising.  Tarleton  was  deter- 
mined to  cover  the  seventy  miles’  distance  between  Corn- 
wallis’ headquarters  and  Charlottesville  in  a single 
twenty-four-hour  period,  in  order  to  surprise  the  leaders  of 
the  American  independence  movement. 

“In  the  town  of  Louisa,  forty  miles  distant  from 
Charlottesville,  he  and  his  men  stopped  into  the  Cuckoo 
Tavern  for  a brief  respite.  Fate  would  have  it  that  Jack 
Jouett  was  at  the  tavern  at  that  moment,  looking  after  his 
father’s  business.  It  was  a very  hot  day  for  June,  and  the 
men  were  thirsty.  Despite  Tarleton’s  orders,  their  tongues 
loosened,  and  Jack  Jouett  was  able  to  overhear  their  desti- 
nation. Jack  decided  to  outride  them  and  warn  Char- 
lottesville. It  was  about  10  P.M.  when  he  got  on  his  best 
horse,  determined  to  take  shortcuts  and  side  roads,  while 
the  British  would  have  to  stick  to  the  main  road.  Fortu- 
nately it  was  a moonlit  night;  otherwise  he  might  not  have 
made  it  in  the  rugged  hill  country. 

“Meanwhile  the  British  were  moving  ahead  too,  and 
around  1 1 o’clock  they  came  to  a halt  on  a plantation  near 
Louisa.  By  2 A.M.  they  had  resumed  their  forward  march. 
They  paused  again  a few  hours  later  to  seize  and  burn  a 
train  of  twelve  wagons  loaded  with  arms  and  clothing  for 
the  Continental  troops  in  South  Carolina.  When  dawn 
broke  over  Charlottesville,  Jouett  had  left  the  British  far 
behind.  Arriving  at  Monticello,  he  dashed  up  to  the  front 
entrance  to  rouse  Jefferson;  however,  Governor  Jefferson, 
who  was  an  early  riser,  had  seen  the  rider  tear  up  his  dri- 
veway and  met  him  at  the  door.  Ever  the  gentleman,  Jef- 
ferson offered  the  exhausted  messenger  a glass  of  wine 
before  allowing  him  to  proceed  to  Charlottesville  proper, 
two  miles  farther  on.  There  he  roused  the  other  members 
of  the  government,  while  Jefferson  woke  his  family.  Two 
hours  later,  when  Tarleton  came  thundering  into  Char- 
lottesville, the  government  of  Virginia  had  vanished.” 

“That’s  quite  a story,  Virginia,”  I said. 

"Of  course,”  Burr  added,  “Tarleton  and  his  men 
might  have  been  here  even  earlier  if  it  hadn’t  been  for  the 


fact  that  they  first  stopped  at  Castle  Hill.  Dr.  and  Mrs. 
Walker  entertained  them  lavishly  and  served  them  a sump- 
tuous breakfast.  It  was  not  only  sumptuous  but  also  delay- 
ing, and  Dr.  Walker  played  the  perfect  host  to  the  hilt, 
showing  Tarleton  about  the  place  despite  the  British  com- 
mander’s impatience,  even  to  measuring  Tarleton’s  orderly 
on  the  living-room  doorjamb.  This  trooper  was  the  tallest 
man  in  the  British  army  and  proved  to  be  6’9  14”  tall.  Due 
to  these  and  other  delaying  tactics — the  Walkers  made  Jack 
Jouett ’s  ride  a complete  success.  Several  members  of  the 
legislature  who  were  visiting  Dr.  Walker  at  the  time  were 
captured,  but  Jefferson  and  the  bulk  of  the  legislature, 
which  had  just  begun  to  convene  that  morning,  got  away. 

After  Thomas  Jefferson  had  taken  refuge  at  the  house 
of  Mr.  Cole,  where  he  was  not  likely  to  be  found,  Jouett 
went  to  his  room  at  his  father’s  tavern,  the  very  house  we 
were  in.  He  had  well  deserved  his  rest.  Among  those  who 
were  hiding  from  British  arrest  was  Patrick  Henry.  He 
arrived  at  a certain  farmhouse  and  identified  himself  by 
saying,  “I’m  Patrick  Henry.”  But  the  farmer’s  wife  replied, 
“Oh,  you  couldn’t  be,  because  my  husband  is  out  there 
fighting,  and  Patrick  Henry  would  be  out  there  too.” 

Henry  managed  to  convince  the  farmer’s  wife  that  his  life 
depended  on  his  hiding  in  her  house,  and  finally  she 
understood.  But  it  was  toward  the  end  of  the  Revolutionary 
War  and  the  British  knew  very  well  that  they  had  for  all 
intents  and  purposes  been  beaten.  Consequently,  shortly 
afterward,  Cornwallis  suggested  to  the  Virginia  legislators 
that  they  return  to  Charlottesville  to  resume  their  offices. 

It  was  time  to  proceed  to  Monticello;  the  afternoon 
sun  was  setting,  and  we  would  be  arriving  just  after  the 
last  tourists  had  left.  Monticello,  which  every  child  knows 
from  its  representation  on  the  American  five-cent  piece,  is 
probably  one  of  the  finest  examples  of  American  architec- 
ture, designed  by  Jefferson  himself,  who  lies  buried  there 
in  the  family  graveyerd.  It  stands  on  a hill  looking  down  in 
to  the  valley  of  Charlottesville.  Carefully  landscaped 
grounds  surround  the  house.  Inside,  the  house  is  laid  out 
in  classical  proportions.  From  the  entrance  hall  with  its 
famous  clock,  also  designed  by  Jefferson,  one  enters  a large, 
round  room,  the  heart  of  the  house.  On  both  sides  of  this 
central  area  are  rectangular  rooms.  To  the  left  is  a corner 
room,  used  as  a study  and  library  from  where  Jefferson, 
frequently  in  the  morning  before  anyone  else  was  up,  used 
to  look  out  on  the  rolling  hills  ofVirginia.  Adjacent  to  it  is 
a very  small  bedroom,  almost  a bunk.  Thus,  the  entire 
west  wing  of  the  building  is  a self-contained  apartment  in 
which  Jefferson  could  be  active  without  interfering  with  the 
rest  of  his  family.  In  the  other  side  of  the  round  central 
room  is  a large  dining  room  leading  to  a terrace  which,  in 
turn,  continues  into  an  open  walk  with  a magnificent  view 
of  the  hillside.  The  furniture  is  Jefferson’s  own,  as  are  the 
silver  and  china,  some  of  it  returned  to  Monticello  by 


A Visit  with  the  Spirited  Jefferson 


135 


history-conscious  citizens  of  the  area  who  had  previously 
purchased  it. 

The  first  room  we  visited  was  Jefferson’s  bedroom. 
Almost  in  awe  herself,  Ingrid  touched  the  bedspread  of 
what  was  once  Jefferson’s  bed,  then  his  desk,  and  the 
books  he  had  handled.  “I  feel  his  presence  her,”  she  said, 
"and  I think  he  did  a lot  of  his  work  in  this  room,  a lot  of 
planning  and  working  things  out,  till  the  wee  hours  of  the 
night.”  I don’t  think  Ingrid  knew  that  Jefferson  was  in  the 
habit  of  doing  just  that,  in  this  particular  room. 

I motioned  Ingrid  to  sit  down  in  one  of  Jefferson’s 
chairs  and  try  to  capture  whatever  she  might  receive  from 
the  past.  "I  can  see  an  awful  lot  of  hard  work,  sleepless 
nights,  and  turmoil.  Other  than  that,  nothing.” 

We  went  into  the  library  next  to  the  study.  “I  don’t 
think  he  spent  much  time  here  really,  just  for  reference.” 
On  we  went  to  the  dining  room  to  the  right  of  the  central 
room.  "I  think  this  was  his  favorite  room,  and  he  loved  to 
meet  people  here  socially.”  Then  she  added,  “I  get  the 
words  ‘plum  pudding'  and  ‘hot  liquor.”' 

“Well,”  Burr  commented,  "he  loved  the  lighter 
things  of  life.  He  brought  ice  cream  to  America,  and  he 
squirted  milk  directly  from  the  cow  into  a goblet  to  make  it 
froth.  He  had  a French  palate.  He  liked  what  we  used  to 
call  floating  island,  a very  elaborate  dessert.” 

"I  see  a lot  of  people.  It  is  a friendly  gathering  with 
glittering  glasses  and  candlelight.”  Ingrid  said.  “They  are 
elegant  but  don’t  have  on  overcoats.  I see  their  white  silken 
shirts.  I see  them  laughing  and  passing  things  around.  Jef- 
ferson is  at  the  table  with  white  hair  pulled  back,  leaning 
over  and  laughing.” 

The  sun  was  setting,  since  it  was  getting  toward  half 
past  six  now,  and  we  started  to  walk  out  the  French  glass 
doors  onto  the  terrace.  From  there  an  open  walk  led 
around  a sharp  corner  to  a small  building,  perhaps  twenty 
or  twenty -five  yards  in  the  distance.  Built  in  the  same  clas- 
sical American  style  as  Monticello  itself,  the  building  con- 
tained two  fair-sized  roooms,  on  two  stories.  The  walk  led 
to  the  entrance  to  the  upper  story,  barricaded  by  an  iron 
grillwork  to  keep  tourists  out.  It  allowed  us  to  enter  the 
room  only  partially,  but  sufficiently  for  Ingrid  to  get  her 
bearings.  Outside,  the  temperature  sank  rapidly  as  the 
evening  approached.  A wind  had  risen,  and  so  it  was  pleas- 
ant to  be  inside  the  protective  walls  of  the  little  house. 

“Horace,  where  are  we  now?”  I asked. 

“We  are  in  the  honeymoon  cottage  where  Thomas 
Jefferson  brought  his  bride  and  lived  at  the  time  when  his 
men  were  building  Monticello.  Jefferson  and  his  family 
lived  here  at  the  very  beginning,  so  you  might  say  that 
whatever  impressions  there  are  here  would  be  of  the  pre- 
Revolutionary  part  of  Jefferson’s  life.” 

I turned  to  Ingrid  and  asked  for  her  impressions.  "I 
feel  everything  is  very  personal  here  and  light,  and  I don’t 
feel  the  tremendous  starin  in  the  planning  of  things  I felt 


in  the  Monticello  building.  As  I close  my  eyes,  I get  a 
funny  feeling  about  a bouquet  of  flowers,  some  very  strong 
and  peculiar  exotic  flowers.  They  are  either  pink  or  light 
red  and  have  a funny  name,  and  I have  a feeling  that  a 
woman  involved  in  this  impression  is  particularly  fond  of  a 
specific  kind  of  flower.  He  goes  out  of  his  way  to  get  them 
for  her,  and  I also  get  the  feeling  of  a liking  for  a certain 
kind  of  china  porcelain.  Someone  is  a collector  and  wants 
to  buy  certain  things,  being  a connoisseur,  and  wants  to 
have  little  knick-knacks  all  over  the  place.  I don’t  know  if 
any  of  this  makes  any  sense,  but  this  is  how  I see  it.” 

“It  makes  sense  indeed,”  Horace  Burr  replied.  “Jef- 
ferson did  more  to  import  rare  trees  and  rare  flowering 
shrubs  than  anyone  else  around  here.  In  fact,  he  sent  ship- 
ments back  from  France  while  he  stayed  there  and  indi- 
cated that  they  were  so  rare  that  if  you  planted  them  in  one 
place  they  might  not  succeed.  So  he  planted  only  a third  at 
Monticello,  a third  at  Verdant  Lawn,  which  is  an  old  estate 
belonging  to  a friend  of  his,  and  a third  somewhere  else  in 
Virginia.  It  was  his  idea  to  plant  them  in  three  places  to 
see  if  they  would  thrive  in  his  Virginia.” 

"The  name  Rousseau  comes  to  mind.  Did  he  know 
anyone  by  that  name?”  Ingrid  asked. 

“Of  course,  he  was  much  influenced  by  Rousseau.” 

“I  also  get  the  feeling  of  a flickering  flame,  a habit  of 
staying  up  to  all  hours  of  the  morning.  Oh,  and  is  there 
any  historical  record  of  an  argument  concerning  this  habit 
of  his,  between  his  wife  and  himself  and  some  kind  of 
peacemaking  gesture  on  someone  else’s  part?” 

“I  am  sure  there  was  an  argument,"  Horace  said. 

“but  I doubt  that  there  ever  was  a peacemaking  gesture. 
You  see,  their  marriage  was  not  a blissful  one;  she  was  very 
wealthy  and  he  spent  her  entire  estate,  just  as  he  spent 
Dabney  Carr’s  entire  estate  and  George  Short’s  entire 
estate.  He  went  through  estate  after  estate,  including  his 
own.  Dabney  Carr  was  his  cousin,  and  he  married  Jeffer- 
son’s sister,  Martha.  He  was  very  wealthy,  but  Jefferson 
gathered  up  his  sister  and  the  children  and  brought  them 
here  after  Carr’s  death.  He  then  took  over  all  the  planta- 
tions and  effects  of  Mr.  Carr. 

“Jefferson  was  a collector  of  things.  He  wrote  three 
catalogues  of  his  own  collection,  and  when  he  died  it  was 
the  largest  collection  in  America.  You  are  right  about  the 
porcelain,  because  it  was  terribly  sophisticated  at  that  time 
to  be  up  on  porcelain.  The  clipper  trade  was  bringing  in 
these  rarities,  and  he  liked  to  collect  them.” 

Since  Ingrid  had  scored  so  nicely  up  to  now,  I asked 
her  whether  she  felt  any  particular  emotional  event  con- 
nected with  this  little  house. 

“Well,  I think  the  wife  was  not  living  on  her  level, 
her  standard,  and  she  was  unhappy.  It  wasn’t  what  she  was 
used  to.  It  wasn’t  grand  enough.  I think  she  had  doubts 
about  him  and  his  plans.” 

“In  what  sense?” 


CHAPTER  FIVE:  Famous  Ghosts 
136 


“I  think  she  was  dubious  about  what  would  happen. 
She  was  worried  that  he  was  getting  too  involved,  and  she 
didn’t  like  his  political  affiliations  too  well.” 

I turned  to  Horace  for  comments.  To  my  surprise, 
Horace  asked  me  to  turn  off  my  tape  recorder  since  the 
information  was  of  a highly  confidential  nature.  However, 
he  pointed  out  that  the  material  could  be  found  in  Ameri- 
can Heritage,  and  that  I was  free  to  tell  the  story  in  my 
own  words. 

Apparently,  there  had  always  been  a problem 
between  Jefferson  and  his  wife  concerning  other  women. 
His  associations  were  many  and  varied.  Perhaps  the  most 
lasting  was  with  a beautiful  young  black  woman,  about  the 
same  age  as  his  wife.  She  was  the  illegitimate  natural  child 
of  W.  Skelton,  a local  gentleman,  and  served  as  a personal 
maid  to  Mrs.  Jefferson.  Eventually,  Jefferson  had  a number 
of  children  by  this  woman.  He  even  took  her  to  Paris.  He 
would  send  for  her.  This  went  on  for  a number  of  years 
and  eventually  contributed  to  the  disillusionment  of  this 
woman.  She  died  in  a little  room  upstairs,  and  they  took 
the  coffin  up  there  some  way,  but  when  they  put  it 
together  and  got  her  into  the  coffin,  it  wouldn’t  come 


downstairs.  They  had  to  take  all  the  windows  out  and 
lower  her  on  a rope.  And  what  was  she  doing  up  there  in 
the  first  place?  All  this  did  not  contribute  to  Mrs.  Jeffer- 
son’s happiness.  The  tragedy  is  that,  after  Jefferson’s  death, 
two  of  his  mulatto  children  were  sent  to  New  Orleans  and 
sold  as  prostitutes  to  pay  his  debts.  There  are  said  to  be 
some  descendants  of  that  liaison  alive  today,  but  you  won’t 
find  any  of  this  in  American  textbooks. 

Gossip  and  legend  intermingle  in  small  towns  and  in 
the  countryside.  This  is  especially  true  when  important  his- 
torical figures  are  involved.  So  it  is  said  that  Jefferson  did 
not  die  a natural  death.  Allegedly,  he  committed  suicide  by 
cutting  his  own  throat.  Toward  the  end  of  Jefferson’s  life, 
there  was  a bitter  feud  between  himself  and  the  Lewis  fam- 
ily. Accusations  and  counteraccusations  are  said  to  have 
gone  back  and  forth.  Jefferson  is  said  to  have  had  Merri- 
weather  Lewis  murdered  and,  prior  to  that,  to  have  accused 
Mr.  Lewis  of  a number  of  strange  things  that  were  not 
true.  But  none  of  these  legends  and  rumors  can  be  proved 
in  terms  of  judicial  procedure;  when  it  comes  to  patriotic 
heroes  of  the  American  Revolution,  the  line  between  truth 
and  fiction  is  always  rather  indistinct. 


* 15 

Major  Andre  and  the 
Question  of  Loyalty 

"MAJOR  John  Andre’s  fateful  excursion  from  General  Sir 
Henry  Clinton’s  headquarters  at  Number  I Broadway  to 
the  gallows  on  the  hill  at  Tappan  took  less  than  a week  of 
the  eighteenth  century,  exactly  one  hundred  seventy  years 
ago  at  this  writing.  It  seems  incredible  that  this  journey 
should  make  memorable  the  roads  he  followed,  the  houses 
he  entered,  the  roadside  wells  where  he  stopped  to  quench 
his  thirst,  the  words  he  spoke.  But  it  did.”  This  eloquent 
statement  by  Harry  Hansen  goes  a long  way  in  describing 
the  relative  importance  of  so  temporary  a matter  as  the  fate 
and  capture  of  a British  agent  during  the  Revolutionary 
War. 

In  the  Tarrytowns,  up  in  Westchester  County,  places 
associated  with  Andre  are  considered  prime  tourist  attrac- 
tions. More  research  effort  has  been  expended  on  the 
exploration  of  even  the  most  minute  detail  of  the  ill-fated 
Andre's  last  voyage  than  on  some  far  worthier  (but  less 
romantic)  historical  projects  elsewhere.  A number  of  good 
books  have  been  written  about  the  incident,  every  school- 
boy knows  about  it,  and  John  Andre  has  gone  into  history 
as  a gentlemanly  but  losing  hero  of  the  American  Revolu- 
tionary War.  But  in  presenting  history  to  schoolchildren  as 
well  as  to  the  average  adult,  most  American  texts  ignore 
the  basic  situation  as  it  then  existed. 


To  begin  with,  the  American  Revolutionary  War  was 
more  of  a civil  war  than  a war  between  two  nations.  Inde- 
pendence was  by  no  means  desired  by  all  Americans;  in 
fact,  the  Declaration  of  Independence  had  difficulty  passing 
the  Continental  Congress  and  did  so  only  after  much  nego- 
tiating behind  the  scenes  and  the  elimination  of  a number 
of  passages,  such  as  those  relating  to  the  issue  of  slavery, 
considered  unacceptable  by  Southerners.  When  the  Decla- 
ration of  Independence  did  become  the  law  of  the  land — at 
least  as  far  as  its  advocates  were  concerned — there  were 
still  those  who  had  not  supported  it  originally  and  who  felt 
themselves  put  in  the  peculiar  position  of  being  disloyal  to 
their  new  country  or  becoming  disloyal  to  the  country  they 
felt  they  ought  to  be  loyal  to.  Those  who  preferred  contin- 
ued ties  with  Great  Britain  were  called  Tories,  and  num- 
bered among  them  generally  were  the  more  influential  and 
wealthier  elements  in  the  colonies.  There  were  exceptions, 
of  course,  but  on  the  whole  the  conservatives  did  not  sup- 
port the  cause  of  the  Revolution  by  any  means.  Any  notion 
that  the  country  arose  as  one  to  fight  the  terrible  British  is 
pure  political  make-believe.  The  issues  were  deep  and 
manifold,  but  they  might  have  been  resolved  eventually 
through  negotiations.  There  is  no  telling  what  might  have 
happened  if  both  England  and  the  United  Colonies  had 
continued  to  negotiate  for  a better  relationship.  The  recent 
civil  war  in  Spain  was  far  more  a war  between  two  distinct 
groups  than  was  the  American  Revolutionary  War.  In  the 
latter,  friends  and  enemies  lived  side  by  side  in  many  areas, 


Major  Andre  and  the  Question  of  Loyalty 

137 


the  lines  were  indistinctly  drawn,  and  members  of  the  same 
family  might  support  one  side  or  the  other.  The  issue  was 
not  between  Britain,  the  invading  enemy,  and  America,  the 
attacked;  on  the  contrary,  it  was  between  the  renunciation 
of  all  ties  with  the  motherland  and  continued  adherence  to 
some  form  of  relationship.  Thus,  it  had  become  a political 
issue  far  more  than  a purely  patriotic  or  national  issue. 
After  all,  there  were  people  of  the  same  national  back- 
ground on  both  sides,  and  nearly  everyone  had  relatives  in 
England. 

Under  the  circumstances,  the  question  of  what  con- 
stituted loyalty  was  a tricky  one.  To  the  British,  the 
colonies  were  in  rebellion  and  thus  disloyal  to  the  king.  To 
the  Americans,  anyone  supporting  the  British  government 
after  the  Declaration  of  Independence  was  considered  dis- 
loyal. But  the  percentage  of  those  who  could  not  support 
independence  was  very  large  all  through  the  war,  far  more 
than  a few  scattered  individuals.  While  some  of  these 
Tories  continued  to  support  Britain  for  personal  or  com- 
mercial reasons,  others  did  so  out  of  honest  political  con- 
viction. To  them,  helping  a British  soldier  did  not 
constitute  high  treason  but,  to  the  contrary,  was  their  nor- 
mal duty.  Added  to  this  dilemma  was  the  fact  that  there 
were  numerous  cases  of  individuals  crossing  the  lines  on 
both  sides,  for  local  business  reasons,  to  remove  women 
and  children  caught  behind  the  lines,  or  to  parley  about 
military  matters,  such  as  the  surrender  of  small  detach- 
ments incapable  of  rejoining  their  regiments,  or  the  obtain- 
ing of  help  for  wounded  soldiers.  The  Revolutionary  War 
was  not  savagely  fought;  it  was,  after  all,  a war  between 
gentlemen.  There  were  no  atrocities,  no  concentration 
camps,  and  no  slaughter  of  the  innocent. 

In  the  fall  of  1780  the  situation  had  deteriorated  to  a 
standstill  of  sorts,  albeit  to  the  detriment  of  the  American 
forces.  The  British  were  in  control  of  the  entire  South,  and 
they  held  New  York  firmly  in  their  grip.  The  British  sloop 
Vulture  was  anchored  in  the  middle  of  the  Hudson  River 
opposite  Croton  Point.  In  this  position,  it  was  not  too  far 
from  that  formidable  bastion  of  the  American  defense  sys- 
tem, West  Point.  Only  West  Point  and  its  multiple  fortifi- 
cations stood  in  the  way  of  total  defeat  for  the  American 
forces. 

Picture,  if  you  will,  the  situation  in  and  around  New 
York.  The  British  Army  was  in  full  control  of  the  city,  that 
is  to  say,  Manhattan,  with  the  British  lines  going  right 
through  Westchester  County.  The  Americans  were 
entrenched  on  the  New  Jersey  shore  and  on  both  sides  of 
the  Hudson  River  from  Westchester  County  upward.  On 
the  American  side  were  first  of  all,  the  regular  Continental 
Army,  commanded  by  General  Washington,  and  also  vari- 
ous units  of  local  militia.  Uniforms  for  the  militia  men  ran 
the  gamut  of  paramilitary  to  civilian,  and  their  training  and 
backgrounds  were  also  extremely  spotty.  It  would  have 


CHAPTER  FIVE:  Famous  Ghosts 


been  difficult  at  times  to  distinguish  a soldier  of  the  Revo- 
lutionary forces  from  a civilian. 

The  British  didn’t  call  on  the  citizens  of  the  area  they 
occupied  for  special  services,  but  it  lay  in  the  nature  of  this 
peculiar  war  that  many  volunteered  to  help  either  side.  The 
same  situation  which  existed  among  the  civilian  population 
in  the  occupied  areas  also  prevailed  where  the  Revolution 
was  successful.  Tory  families  kept  on  giving  support  to  the 
British,  and  when  they  were  found  out  they  were  charged 
with  high  treason.  Nevertheless,  they  continued  right  on 
supplying  aid.  Moreover,  the  lines  between  British  and 
American  forces  were  not  always  clearly  drawn.  They 
shifted  from  day  to  day,  and  if  anyone  wanted  to  cross 
from  north  of  Westchester  into  New  Jersey,  for  instance, 
he  might  very  well  find  himself  in  the  wrong  part  of  the 
country  if  he  didn't  know  his  way  around  or  if  he  hadn’t 
checked  the  latest  information.  To  make  matters  even  more 
confusing,  Sir  Henry  Clinton  was  in  charge  of  the  British 
troops  in  New  York  City,  while  Governor  Clinton  ruled 
the  state  of  New  York,  one  of  the  thirteen  colonies,  from 
Albany. 

In  the  spring  of  1779  Sir  Henry  Clinton  received  let- 
ters from  an  unknown  correspondent  who  signed  himself 
only  “Gustavus.”  From  the  content  of  these  letters,  the 
British  commander  knew  instantly  that  he  was  dealing  with 
a high-ranking  American  officer.  Someone  on  the  American 
side  wished  to  make  contact  in  order  to  serve  the  British 
cause.  Clinton  turned  the  matter  over  to  his  capable  adju- 
tant general,  Major  John  Andre.  Andre,  whose  specialty 
was  what  we  call  intelligence  today,  replied  to  the  letters, 
using  the  pseudonym  John  Anderson. 

Andre  had  originally  been  active  in  the  business 
world  but  purchased  a commission  as  a second  lieutenant 
in  the  British  Army  in  1771.  He  arrived  in  America  in 
1774  and  served  in  the  Philadelphia  area.  Eventually  he 
served  in  a number  of  campaigns  and  by  1777  had  been 
promoted  to  captain.  Among  the  wealthy  Tory  families  he 
became  friendly  with  during  the  British  occupation  of 
Philadelphia  was  the  Shippen  family.  One  of  the  daughters 
of  that  family  later  married  General  Benedict  Arnold. 

Andre’s  first  major  intelligence  job  was  to  make  con- 
tact with  a secret  body  of  Royalists  living  near  Chesapeake 
Bay.  This  group  of  Royalists  had  agreed  to  rise  against  the 
Americans  if  military  protection  were  sent  to  them.  Essen- 
tially, Andre  was  a staff  officer,  not  too  familiar  with  field 
work  and  therefore  apt  to  get  into  difficulties  once  faced 
with  the  realities  of  rugged  terrain.  As  the  correspondence 
continued,  both  Clinton  and  Andre  suspected  that  the 
Loyalist  writing  the  letters  was  none  other  than  General 
Benedict  Arnold,  and  eventually  Arnold  conceded  this. 

After  many  false  starts,  a meeting  took  place  between 
Major  General  Benedict  Arnold,  the  commander  of  West 
Point,  and  Major  John  Andre  on  the  night  of  September 
21,  1780,  at  Haverstraw  on  the  Hudson.  At  the  time, 
Arnold  made  his  headquarters  at  the  house  of  Colonel  Bev- 
erley Robinson,  which  was  near  West  Point. 


138 


The  trip  had  been  undertaken  on  Andre’s  insistence, 
very  much  against  the  wishes  of  his  immediate  superior,  Sir 
Henry  Clinton.  As  Andre  was  leaving,  Clinton  reminded 
him  that  under  no  circumstances  was  he  to  change  his  uni- 
form or  to  take  papers  with  him.  It  was  quite  sufficient  to 
exchange  views  with  General  Arnold  and  then  to  return  to 
the  safety  of  the  British  lines. 

Unfortunately,  Andre  disobeyed  these  commands. 
General  Arnold  had  with  him  six  papers  which  he  per- 
suaded Andre  to  place  between  his  stockings  and  his  feet. 
The  six  papers  contained  vital  information  about  the  forti- 
fications at  West  Point,  sufficient  to  allow  the  British  to 
capture  the  strongpoint  with  Arnold’s  help.  “The  six 
papers  which  Arnold  persuaded  Andre  to  place  between  his 
stockings  and  his  feet  did  not  contain  anything  of  value 
that  could  not  have  been  entrusted  to  Andre’s  memory  or 
at  most  contained  in  a few  lines  in  cipher  that  would  not 
have  been  intelligible  to  anyone  else,”  states  Otto  Hufeland 
in  his  book  Westchester  County  during  the  American  Revolu- 
tion. But  it  is  thought  that  Andre  still  distrusted  General 
Arnold  and  wanted  something  in  the  latter's  handwriting 
that  would  incriminate  him  if  there  was  any  deception. 

It  was  already  morning  when  the  two  men  parted. 
General  Arnold  returned  to  his  headquarters  by  barge, 
leaving  Andre  with  Joshua  Smith,  who  was  to  see  to  his 
safe  return.  Andre's  original  plan  was  to  get  to  the  sloop 
Vulture  and  return  to  New  York  by  that  route.  But  some- 
how Joshua  Smith  convinced  him  that  he  should  go  by 
land.  He  also  persuaded  Andre  to  put  on  a civilian  coat, 
which  he  supplied.  General  Arnold  had  given  them  passes 
to  get  through  the  lines,  so  toward  sunset  Andre,  Smith, 
and  a servant  rode  down  to  King’s  Ferry,  crossing  the  river 
from  Stony  Point  to  Verplanck’s  Point  and  on  into 
Westchester  County. 

Taking  various  back  roads  and  little-used  paths 
which  made  the  journey  much  longer,  Andre  eventually 
arrived  at  a spot  not  far  from  Philipse  Castle.  There  he  ran 
into  three  militia  men:  John  Paulding,  Isaac  Van  Wart,  and 
David  Williams.  They  were  uneducated  men  in  their  early 
twenties,  and  far  from  experienced  in  such  matters  as  how 
to  question  a suspected  spy.  The  three  fellows  weren’t 
looking  for  spies,  however,  but  for  cattle  thieves  which 
were  then  plaguing  the  area.  They  were  on  the  lookout 
near  the  Albany  Post  Road  when  Van  Wart  saw  Andre 
pass  on  his  horse.  They  stopped  him,  and  that  is  where 
Andre  made  his  first  mistake.  Misinterpreting  the  Hessian 
coat  Paulding  wore  (he  had  obtained  it  four  days  before 
when  escaping  from  a New  York  prison)  and  thinking  that 
he  was  among  British  Loyalists,  he  immediately  identified 
himself  as  a British  officer  and  asked  them  not  to  detain 
him.  But  the  three  militia  men  made  him  dismount  and 
undress,  and  then  the  documents  were  discovered.  It  has 
been  said  that  they  weren’t  suspicious  of  him  at  all,  but 
that  the  elegant  boots,  something  very  valuable  in  those 
days,  tempted  them,  and  that  they  were  more  interested  in 
Andre’s  clothing  than  in  what  he  might  have  on  him. 


Whatever  the  motivation,  Andre  was  brought  to  Colonel 
Jameson’s  headquarters  at  Sand’s  Mill,  which  is  called 
Armonk  today. 

Jameson  sent  the  prisoner  to  General  Arnold,  a 
strange  decision  which  indicates  some  sort  of  private 
motive.  The  papers,  however,  he  sent  directly  to  General 
Washington,  who  was  then  at  Hartford.  Only  upon  the 
return  of  his  next -in -command,  Major  Tallmadge,  did  the 
real  state  of  affairs  come  to  light.  On  Tallmadge’s  insis- 
tence, the  party  escorting  Andre  to  General  Arnold  was 
recalled  and  brought  back  to  Sand’s  Mills.  But  a letter 
telling  General  Arnold  of  Andre’s  capture  was  permitted  to 
continue  on  its  way  to  West  Point! 

Benedict  Arnold  received  the  letter  the  next  morning 
at  breakfast.  The  General  rose  from  the  table,  announced 
that  he  had  to  go  across  the  river  to  West  Point  immedi- 
ately, and  went  to  his  room  in  great  agitation.  His  wife  fol- 
lowed him,  and  he  informed  her  that  he  must  leave  at 
once,  perhaps  forever.  Then  he  mounted  his  horse  and 
dashed  down  to  the  riverside.  Jumping  into  his  barge,  he 
ordered  his  men  to  row  him  to  the  Vulture,  some  seventeen 
miles  below.  He  explained  to  his  men  that  he  came  on  a 
flag  of  truce  and  promised  them  an  extra  ration  of  rum  if 
they  made  it  particularly  quickly.  When  the  barge  arrived 
at  the  British  vessel,  he  jumped  aboard  and  even  tried  to 
force  the  bargemen  to  enter  the  King’s  service  on  the  threat 
of  making  them  prisoners.  The  men  refused,  and  the  Vul- 
ture sailed  on  to  New  York  City.  On  arrival,  General  Clin- 
ton freed  the  bargemen,  a most  unusual  act  of  gallantry  in 
those  days. 

Meanwhile  Andre  was  being  tried  as  a spy.  Found 
guilty  by  a court-martial  at  Tappan,  he  was  executed  by 
hanging  on  October  2,  1780.  The  three  militia  men  who 
had  thus  saved  the  very  existence  of  the  new  republic  were 
voted  special  medals  by  Congress. 

* * * 

The  entire  area  around  Tappan  and  the  Tarrytowns 
is  "Andre”  country.  At  Philipse  Castle  there  is  a special 
exhibit  of  Andre  memorabilia  in  a tiny  closet  under  the 
stairs.  There  is  a persistent  rumor  that  Andre  was  trying  to 
escape  from  his  captors.  According  to  Mrs.  Cornelia  Beek- 
man,  who  then  lived  at  the  van  Cortlandt  House  in  Peek- 
skill,  there  was  in  her  house  a suitcase  containing  an 
American  army  uniform  and  a lot  of  cash.  That  suitcase 
was  to  be  turned  over  to  anyone  bringing  a written  note 
from  Andre.  Joshua  Hett  Smith,  who  had  helped  Andre 
escape  after  his  meeting  with  Arnold,  later  asked  for  the 
suitcase;  however,  as  Smith  had  nothing  in  writing,  Beek- 
man  refused  to  give  it  to  him.  However,  this  story  came  to 
light  only  many  years  after  the  Revolution,  perhaps 
because  Mrs.  Beekman  feared  to  be  drawn  into  a treason 
trial  or  because  she  had  some  feelings  of  her  own  in  the 
matter. 

Major  Andre  and  the  Question  of  Loyalty 

139 


Our  next  stop  was  to  be  the  van  Cortlandt  mansion, 
not  more  than  fifteen  minutes  away  by  car.  Obviously,  Pat 
Smith  was  in  a good  mood  this  morning.  In  her  little  for- 
eign car  she  preceded  us  at  such  a pace  that  we  had  great 
difficulty  keeping  up  with  her.  It  was  a sight  to  behold  how 
this  lady  eased  her  way  in  and  out  of  traffic  with  an  almost 
serpentine  agility  that  made  us  wonder  how  long  she  could 
keep  it  up.  Bravely  following  her,  we  passed  Sleepy  Hollow 
Cemetery  and  gave  it  some  thought.  No,  we  were  not  too 
much  concerned  with  all  the  illustrious  Dutch  Americans 
buried  there,  nor  with  Washington  Irving  and  nearby  Sun- 
nyside;  we  were  frankly  concerned  with  ourselves.  Would 
we  also  wind  up  at  Sleepy  Hollow  Cemetery,  or  would  we 
make  it  to  the  van  Cortlandt  mansion  in  one  piece. . .? 

The  mansion  itself  is  a handsome  two-story  building, 
meticulously  restored  and  furnished  with  furniture  and  art- 
works of  the  eighteenth  century,  some  of  it  from  the  origi- 
nal house.  Turned  into  a tourist  attraction  by  the  same 
foundation  which  looked  after  Philipsburg  Manor,  the 
house,  situated  on  a bluff,  is  a perfect  example  of  how  to 
run  an  outdoor  museum.  Prior  to  climbing  the  hill  to  the 
mansion  itself,  however,  we  visited  the  ferryboat  house  at 
the  foot  of  the  hill.  In  the  eighteenth  century  and  the  early 
part  of  the  nineteenth  century,  the  river  came  close  to  the 
house,  and  it  was  possible  for  the  ships  bringing  goods  to 
the  van  Cortlandts  to  come  a considerable  distance  inland 
to  discharge  their  merchandise.  The  Ferryboat  Inn  seemed 
a natural  outgrowth  of  having  a ferry  at  that  spot:  the  ferry 
itself  crossed  an  arm  of  the  Hudson  River,  not  very  wide, 
but  wide  enough  not  to  be  forded  on  foot  or  by  a small 
boat.  Since  so  much  of  these  buildings  had  been  restored,  I 
wondered  whether  Ingrid  would  pick  up  anything  from  the 
past. 

The  inn  turned  out  to  be  a charming  little  house. 
Downstairs  we  found  what  must  have  been  the  public 
room,  a kitchen,  and  another  room,  with  a winding  stair- 
case leading  to  the  upper  story.  Frankly,  I expected  very 
little  from  this  but  did  not  want  to  offend  Pat  Smith,  who 
had  suggested  the  visit. 

“Funny,”  Ingrid  said,  “when  I walked  into  the  door, 

I had  the  feeling  that  I had  to  force  my  way  through  a 
crowd." 

The  curator  seemed  surprised  at  this,  for  she  hadn't 
expected  anything  from  this  particular  visit  either.  “I  can’t 
understand  this,”  she  said  plaintively.  “This  is  one  of  the 
friendliest  buildings  we  have.” 

“Well,”  I said,  “ferryboat  inns  in  the  old  days 
weren’t  exactly  like  the  Hilton." 

“I  feel  a lot  of  activity  here,”  Ingrid  said.  "Something 
happened  here,  not  a hanging,  but  connected  with  one.” 

We  went  upstairs,  where  I stopped  Ingrid  in  front  of 
a niche  that  contained  a contemporary  print  of  Andre's 
execution.  As  yet  we  had  not  discussed  Major  Andre  or  his 
connection  with  the  area,  and  I doubt  very  much  whether 

CHAPTER  FIVE:  Famous  Ghosts 


Ingrid  realized  there  was  a connection.  “As  you  look  at 
this,  do  you  have  any  idea  who  it  is?”  I asked. 

Ingrid,  who  is  very  nearsighted,  looked  at  the  picture 
from  a distance  and  said,  “I  feel  that  he  may  have  come 
through  this  place  at  one  time.”  And  so  he  might  have. 

As  we  walked  up  the  hill  to  the  van  Cortlandt  man- 
sion, the  time  being  just  right  for  a visit  as  the  tourists 
would  be  leaving,  I questioned  Pat  Smith  about  the 
mansion. 

“My  mother  used  to  know  the  family  who  owns  the 
house,”  Pat  Smith  began.  “Among  the  last  descendants  of 
the  van  Cortlandts  were  Mrs.  Jean  Brown  and  a Mrs. 
Mason.  This  was  in  the  late  thirties  or  the  forties,  when  I 
lived  in  New  Canaan.  Apparently,  there  were  such  mani- 
festations at  the  house  that  the  two  ladies  called  the  Arch- 
bishop of  New  York  for  help.  They  complained  that  a 
spirit  was  ‘acting  up,’  that  there  were  the  sound  of  a coach 
that  no  one  could  see  and  other  inexplicable  noises  of  the 
usual  poltergeist  nature.” 

“What  did  they  do  about  it?” 

"Despite  his  reluctance  to  get  involved,  the  Arch- 
bishop did  go  up  to  the  manor,  partly  because  of  the 
prominence  of  the  family.  He  put  on  his  full  regalia  and 
went  through  a ritual  of  exorcism.  Whether  or  not  it  did 
any  good,  I don’t  know,  but  a little  later  a psychic  sensitive 
went  through  the  house  also  and  recorded  some  of  these 
noises.  As  far  as  I know,  none  of  it  was  ever  published, 
and  for  all  I know,  it  may  still  be  there — the  specter,  that 
is.” 

We  now  had  arrived  at  the  mansion,  and  we  entered 
the  downstairs  portion  of  the  house.  Two  young  ladies 
dressed  in  colonial  costumes  received  us  and  offered  us 
some  cornmeal  tidbits  baked  in  the  colonial  manner.  We 
went  over  the  house  from  top  to  bottom,  from  bottom  to 
top,  but  Ingrid  felt  absolutely  nothing  out  of  the  ordinary. 
True,  she  felt  the  vibrations  of  people  having  lived  in  the 
house,  having  come  and  gone,  but  no  tragedy,  no  deep 
imprint,  and,  above  all,  no  presence.  Pat  Smith  seemed  a 
little  disappointed.  She  didn’t  really  believe  in  ghosts  as 
such,  but,  having  had  some  ESP  experiences  at  Sunnyside, 
she  wasn’t  altogether  sure.  At  that  instant  she  remembered 
having  left  her  shopping  bag  at  the  Ferryboat  Inn.  The  bag 
contained  much  literature  on  the  various  colonial  houses  in 
the  area,  and  she  wanted  to  give  it  to  us.  Excusing  herself, 
she  dashed  madly  back  down  the  hill  to  the  Ferryboat  Inn. 
She  was  back  in  no  time,  a little  out  of  breath,  which  made 
me  wonder  whether  she  had  wanted  to  make  her  solo  visit 
to  the  Ferryboat  Inn  at  dusk  just  as  brief  as  humanly 
possible. 

* * * 

In  a splendid  Victorian  mansion  surmounted  by  a 
central  tower,  the  Historical  Society  of  the  Tarrytowns 
functions  as  an  extremely  well  organized  local  museum  as 
well  as  a research  center.  Too  prudent  to  display  items  of 
general  interest  that  might  be  found  elsewhere  in  greater 


140 


quantity  and  better  quality,  the  Historical  Society  concen- 
trates on  items  and  information  pertaining  to  the  immedi- 
ate area.  It  is  particularly  strong  on  pamphlets,  papers, 
maps,  and  other  literature  of  the  area  from  1786  onward. 
One  of  the  principal  rooms  in  the  Society’s  museum  is  the 
so-called  Captors’  Room.  In  it  are  displays  of  a sizable  col- 
lection of  material  dealing  with  the  capture  of  Major 
Andre.  These  include  lithographs,  engravings,  documen- 
tary material,  letters,  and,  among  other  things,  a chair.  It  is 
the  chair  Andre  sat  in  when  he  was  still  a free  man  at  the 
Underhill  home,  south  ofYorktown  Heights.  Mrs.  Ade- 
laide Smith,  the  curator,  was  exceptionally  helpful  to  us 
when  we  stated  the  purpose  of  our  visit.  Again,  as  I always 
do,  I prevented  Ingrid  from  hearing  my  conversation  with 
Mrs.  Smith,  or  with  Miss  Smith,  who  had  come  along  now 
that  she  had  recovered  her  shopping  bag  full  of  literature. 
As  soon  as  I could  get  a moment  alone  with  Ingrid,  I asked 
her  to  touch  the  chair  in  question. 

“I  get  just  a slight  impression,"  she  said,  seating  her- 
self in  the  chair,  then  getting  up  again.  “There  may  have 
been  a meeting  in  here  of  some  kind,  or  he  may  have  been 
sentenced  while  near  or  sitting  in  this  chair.  I think  there 
was  a meeting  in  this  room  to  determine  what  would 
happen.” 

But  she  could  not  get  anything  very  strong  about  the 
chair.  Looking  at  the  memorabilia,  she  then  commented,  "I 
feel  he  was  chased  for  quite  a while  before  he  was  cap- 
tured. I do  feel  that  the  chair  in  this  room  has  something 
to  do  with  his  sentence." 

“Is  the  chair  authentic?” 

"Yes,  I think  so.” 

“Now  concerning  this  room,  the  Captors’  Room,  do 
you  feel  anything  special  about  it?” 

“Yes,  I think  this  is  where  it  was  decided,  and  I feel 
there  were  a lot  of  men  here,  men  from  town  and  from  the 
government.” 

Had  Ingrid  wanted  to  manufacture  a likely  story  to 
please  me,  she  could  not  have  done  worse.  Everything 
about  the  room  and  the  building  would  have  told  her  that 
it  was  of  the  nineteenth  century,  and  that  the  impression 
she  had  just  described  seemed  out  of  place,  historically 
speaking.  But  those  were  her  feelings,  and  as  a good  sensi- 
tive she  felt  obliged  to  say  whatever  came  into  her  mind  or 
whatever  she  was  impressed  with,  not  to  examine  it  as  to 
whether  it  fit  in  with  the  situation  she  found  herself  in.  I 
turned  to  the  curator  and  asked,  “Mrs.  Smith,  what  was 
this  room  used  for,  and  how  old  is  the  building  itself?” 

“The  building  is  about  one  hundred  twenty-five  years 
old;  our  records  show  it  was  built  between  1848  and  1850 
by  Captain  Jacob  Odell,  the  first  mayor  of  Tarrytown.  It 
was  built  as  one  house,  and  since  its  erection  two  families 
have  lived  here.  First,  there  were  the  Odells,  and  later  Mr. 
and  Mrs.  Aussie  Case.  Mrs.  Case  is  eighty-seven  now  and 
retired.  This  house  was  purchased  for  the  Society  to 
become  their  headquarters.  It  has  been  used  as  our  head- 
quarters for  over  twenty  years.” 


“Was  there  anything  on  this  spot  before  this  house 
was  built?” 

“I  don’t  know." 

“Has  anyone  ever  been  tried  or  judged  in  this  room?” 

“I  don’t  know.” 

Realizing  that  a piece  of  furniture  might  bring  with 
itself  part  of  the  atmosphere  in  which  it  stood  when  some 
particularly  emotional  event  took  place,  I questioned  Mrs. 
Smith  about  the  history  of  the  chair. 

“This  chair,  dated  1725,  was  presented  to  us  from 
Yorktown.  It  was  the  chair  in  which  Major  Andre  sat  the 
morning  of  his  capture,  when  he  and  Joshua  Smith  stopped 
at  the  home  of  Isaac  Underhill  for  breakfast.” 

The  thoughts  going  through  Andre’s  head  that  morn- 
ing, when  he  was  almost  sure  of  a successful  mission,  must 
have  been  fairly  happy  ones.  He  had  succeeded  in  obtain- 
ing the  papers  from  General  Arnold;  he  had  slept  reason- 
ably well,  been  fed  a good  breakfast,  and  was  now, 
presumably,  on  his  way  to  Manhattan  and  a reunion  with 
his  commanding  general,  Sir  Henry  Clinton.  If  Ingrid  felt 
any  meetings  around  that  chair,  she  might  be  reaching 
back  beyond  Andre’s  short  use  of  the  chair,  perhaps  into 
the  history  of  the  Underhill  home  itself.  Why,  then,  did 
she  speak  of  sentence  and  capture,  facts  she  would  know 
from  the  well-known  historical  account  of  Major  Andre’s 
mission?  I think  that  the  many  documents  and  memorabilia 
stored  in  the  comparatively  small  room  might  have  created 
a common  atmosphere  in  which  bits  and  snatches  of  past 
happenings  had  been  reproduced  in  some  fashion.  Perhaps 
Ingrid  was  able  to  tune  in  on  this  shallow  but  nevertheless 
still  extant  psychic  layer. 

Major  Andre  became  a sort  of  celebrity  in  his  own 
time.  His  stature  as  a British  master  spy  was  exaggerated 
far  out  of  proportion  even  during  the  Revolutionary  War. 
This  is  understandable  when  one  realizes  how  close  the 
cause  of  American  independence  had  come  to  total  defeat. 
If  Andre  had  delivered  the  documents  entrusted  to  him  by 
Major  General  Arnold  to  the  British,  West  Point  could  not 
have  been  held.  With  the  fall  of  the  complicated  fortifica- 
tions at  the  point,  the  entire  North  would  have  soon  been 
occupied  by  the  British.  Unquestionably,  the  capture  of 
Major  Andre  was  a turning  point  in  the  war,  which  had 
then  reached  a stalemate,  albeit  one  in  favor  of  the  British. 
They  could  afford  to  wait  and  sit  it  out  while  the  Conti- 
nental troops  were  starving  to  death,  unable  to  last  another 
winter. 

General  Arnold’s  betrayal  was  by  no  means  a sudden 
decision;  his  feelings  about  the  war  had  changed  some  time 
prior  to  the  actual  act.  The  reasons  may  be  seen  in  his 
background,  his  strong  Tory  leanings,  and  a certain  resent- 
ment against  the  command  of  the  Revolutionary  Army.  He 
felt  he  had  not  advanced  quickly  enough;  the  command  at 
West  Point  was  given  him  only  three  months  prior  to 
Andre’s  capture.  Rather  than  being  grateful  for  the  belated 

Major  Andre  and  the  Question  of  Loyalty 

141 


recognition  of  his  talents  by  the  Continental  command, 
Arnold  saw  it  as  a godsend  to  fulfill  his  own  nefarious  task. 
For  several  months  he  had  been  in  correspondence  with  Sir 
Henry  Clinton  in  New  York,  and  his  decision  to  betray  the 
cause  of  independence  was  made  long  before  he  became 
commander  of  West  Point. 

But  Andre  wasn’t  the  master  spy  later  accounts  try  to 
make  him  out:  his  bumbling  response  when  captured  by 
the  three  militia  men  shows  that  he  was  far  from  experi- 
enced in  such  matters.  Since  he  had  carried  on  his  person  a 
laissez-passer  signed  by  General  Arnold,  he  needed  only  to 
produce  this  document  and  the  men  would  have  let  him 
go.  Instead,  he  volunteered  the  information  that  he  was  a 
British  officer.  All  this  because  one  of  the  militia  men  wore 
a Hessian  coat.  It  never  occurred  to  Andre  that  the  coat 
might  have  been  stolen  or  picked  up  on  the  battlefield!  But 
there  was  a certain  weakness  in  Andre’s  character,  a certain 
conceit,  and  the  opportunity  of  presenting  himself  as  a 
British  officer  on  important  business  was  too  much  to  pass 
up  when  he  met  the  three  nondescript  militia  men.  Perhaps 
his  personal  vanity  played  a part  in  this  fateful  decision; 
perhaps  he  really  believed  himself  to  be  among  troops  on 
his  own  side.  Whatever  the  cause  of  his  strange  behavior, 
he  paid  with  his  life  for  it.  Within  weeks  after  the  hanging 
of  Major  Andre,  the  entire  Continental  Army  knew  of  the 
event,  the  British  command  was  made  aware  of  it,  and  in  a 
detailed  document  Sir  Henry  Clinton  explained  what  he 
had  had  in  mind  in  case  Arnold  would  have  been  able  to 
deliver  West  Point  and  its  garrison  to  the  British.  Thus, 
the  name  Andre  became  a household  word  among  the 
troops  of  both  sides. 

* * * 

In  1951  I investigated  a case  of  a haunting  at  the 
colonial  house  belonging  to  the  late  New  York  News  colum- 
nist Danton  Walker.  The  case  was  first  published,  under 
the  title  "The  Rockland  County  Ghost,”  in  Tomorrow  mag- 
azine and,  later,  in  Ghost  Hunter.  Various  disturbances  had 
occurred  at  the  house  between  1941  and  1951  that  had  led 
Mr.  Walker  to  believe  that  he  had  a poltergeist  in  his 
domicile.  The  late  Eileen  Garrett  offered  to  serve  as 
medium  in  the  investigation,  and  Dr.  Robert  Laidlaw,  the 
eminent  psychiatrist,  was  to  meet  us  at  the  house  to  super- 
vise the  proceedings  along  with  me.  Even  before  Mrs.  Gar- 
rett set  foot  in  the  house,  however,  she  revealed  to  us  the 
result  of  a “traveling  clairvoyance”  expedition  in  which  she 
had  seen  the  entity  "hung  up”  in  the  house.  His  name,  she 
informed  us,  was  Andreas,  and  she  felt  that  he  was 
attached  to  the  then  owner  of  the  house. 

The  visit  to  the  house  was  one  of  the  most  dramatic 
and  perhaps  traumatic  psychic  investigations  into  haunted 
houses  I have  ever  conducted.  The  house,  which  has  since 
changed  ownership  owing  to  Mr.  Walker’s  death,  stands 
on  a hill  that  was  once  part  of  a large  farm.  During  the 

CHAPTER  FIVE:  Famous  Ghosts 


Revolutionary  War,  the  house  served  as  headquarters  for  a 
detachment  of  troops  on  the  Revolutionary  side.  General 
Anthony  Wayne,  known  as  "Mad”  Anthony,  had  his  head- 
quarters very  near  this  site,  and  the  Battle  of  Stony  Point 
was  fought  just  a few  miles  away  in  1779.  The  building 
served  as  a fortified  roadhouse  used  for  the  storage  of  arms, 
ammunitions,  food,  and  at  times  for  the  safekeeping  of 
prisoners. 

At  the  time  Danton  Walker  bought  the  house,  it  was 
in  a sad  state  of  disrepair,  but  with  patience  and  much 
money  he  restored  it  to  its  former  appearance.  During  the 
time  when  the  house  was  being  rebuilt,  Walker  stayed  at  a 
nearby  inn  but  would  occasionally  take  afternoon  naps  on 
an  army  cot  in  the  upstairs  part  of  his  house.  On  these 
occasions  he  had  the  distinct  impression  of  the  presence  of 
a Revolutionary  soldier  in  the  same  room  with  him.  Psy- 
chic impressions  were  nothing  new  for  the  late  News 
columnist;  he  had  lived  with  them  all  his  life.  During  the 
first  two  years  of  his  tenancy,  Walker  did  not  observe  any- 
thing further,  but  by  1944  there  had  developed  audible  and 
even  visible  phenomena. 

One  afternoon,  while  resting  in  the  front  room  down- 
stairs, he  heard  a violent  knocking  at  the  front  door  caused 
by  someone  moving  the  heavy  iron  knocker.  But  he  found 
no  one  at  the  front  door.  Others,  including  Walker’s  man 
Johnny,  were  aroused  many  times  by  knocking  at  the  door, 
only  to  find  no  one  there.  A worker  engaged  in  the  restora- 
tion of  the  house  complained  about  hearing  someone  with 
heavy  boots  on  walking  up  the  stairs  in  mid-afternoon,  at  a 
time  when  he  was  alone  in  the  place.  The  sound  of  heavy 
footfalls,  of  someone,  probably  male,  wearing  boots,  kept 
recurring.  During  the  summer  of  1952,  when  Walker  had 
guests  downstairs,  everyone  heard  the  heavy  thumping 
sound  of  someone  falling  down  the  stairs.  Other,  more  tan- 
gible phenomena  added  to  the  eerie  atmosphere  of  the 
place:  the  unmistakable  imprint  of  a heavy  man's  thumb 
on  a thick  pewter  jar  of  the  seventeenth  century,  inexplica- 
ble on  any  grounds;  the  mysterious  appearance  on  a plate 
rail  eight  feet  above  the  kitchen  floor  of  a piece  of  glass 
that  had  been  in  the  front-door  window;  pictures  tumbling 
down  from  their  places  in  the  hallway;  and  a pewter 
pitcher  thrown  at  a woman  guest  from  a bookshelf  behind 
the  bed. 

One  evening,  two  Broadway  friends  of  Danton 
Walker’s,  both  of  them  interested  in  the  occult  but  not 
really  believers,  came  to  the  house  for  the  weekend.  One  of 
the  men,  L.,  a famous  Broadway  writer,  insisted  on  spend- 
ing the  night  in  the  haunted  bedroom  upstairs.  An  hour 
later  the  pajama-clad  guest  came  down  to  Walker's  little 
studio  at  the  other  end  of  the  estate,  where  Walker  was 
now  sleeping  because  of  the  disturbances,  and  demanded 
an  end  to  the  “silly  pranks”  he  thought  someone  was  play- 
ing on  him.  The  light  beside  his  bed  was  blinking  on  and 
off,  while  all  the  other  lights  in  the  house  were  burning 
steadily,  he  explained.  Walker  sent  him  back  to  bed  with 
an  explanation  about  erratic  power  supply  in  the  country. 


142 


A little  over  an  hour  later,  L,  came  running  back  to 
Walker  and  asked  to  spend  the  rest  of  the  night  in 
Walker’s  studio. 

In  the  morning  he  explained  the  reasons  for  his 
strange  behavior:  he  had  been  awakened  from  deep  sleep 
by  the  sensation  of  someone  slapping  him  violently  about 
the  face.  Sitting  bolt  upright  in  bed,  he  noticed  that  the 
shirt  he  had  placed  on  the  back  of  a rocking  chair  was 
being  agitated  by  the  breeze.  The  chair  was  rocking  ever  so 
gently.  It  then  occurred  to  L.  that  there  could  be  no  breeze 
in  the  room,  since  all  the  windows  had  been  closed! 

Many  times,  Walker  had  the  impression  that  some- 
one was  trying  desperately  to  get  into  the  house,  as  if  for 
refuge.  He  recalled  that  the  children  of  a previous  tenant 
had  spoken  of  some  disturbance  near  a lilac  bush  at  the 
comer  of  the  house.  The  original  crude  stone  walk  from 
the  road  to  the  house  passed  by  this  lilac  bush  and  went  on 
to  the  well,  which,  according  to  local  tradition,  had  been 
used  by  Revolutionary  soldiers. 

Our  group  of  investigators  reached  the  house  on 
November  22,  1952,  on  a particularly  dark  day,  as  if  it  had 
been  staged  that  way.  Toward  3 o’clock  in  the  afternoon, 
we  sat  down  for  a seance  in  the  upstairs  bedroom.  Within 
a matter  of  seconds,  Eileen  Garrett  had  disappeared,  so  to 
speak,  from  her  body,  and  in  her  stead  was  another  person. 
Sitting  upright  and  speaking  in  halting  tones  with  a distinct 
Indian  accent,  Uvani,  one  of  Mrs.  Garrett’s  spirit  guides, 
addressed  us  and  prepared  us  for  the  personality  that 
would  follow  him. 

“I  am  confronted  myself  with  a rather  restless  per- 
sonality, a very  strange  personality,  and  one  that  might 
appear  to  be,  in  his  own  life,  perhaps  not  quite  of  the  right 
mind,”  he  explained  to  us.  The  control  personality  then 
added  that  he  was  having  difficulty  maintaining  a calm 
atmosphere  owing  to  the  great  disturbance  the  entity  was 
bringing  into  the  house.  As  the  control  spoke,  the 
medium’s  hands  and  legs  began  to  shake.  He  explained 
that  she  was  experiencing  the  physical  condition  of  the 
entity  that  would  soon  speak  to  us,  a disease  known  as 
classical  palsy.  Dr.  Laidlaw  nodded  and  asked  the  entity  to 
proceed. 

A moment  later,  the  body  of  Eileen  Garrett  was 
occupied  by  an  entirely  new  personality.  Shaking  uncon- 
trollably, as  if  in  great  pain,  the  entity  tried  to  sit  up  in  the 
chair  but  was  unable  to  maintain  balance  and  eventually 
crashed  to  the  floor.  There,  one  of  the  legs  continued  to 
vibrate  violently,  which  is  one  of  the  symptoms  of  palsy,  a 
disease  in  which  muscular  control  is  lost.  For  two  minutes 
or  more,  only  inarticulate  sounds  came  from  the  entranced 
medium’s  lips.  Eventually  we  were  able  to  induce  the  pos- 
sessing entity  to  speak  to  us.  At  first  there  were  only  halt- 
ing sounds,  as  if  the  entity  were  in  great  pain.  From  time 
to  time  the  entity  touched  his  leg,  and  then  his  head,  indi- 
cating that  those  were  areas  in  which  he  experienced  pain. 
Dr.  Laidlaw  assured  the  personality  before  us  that  we  had 
come  as  friends  and  that  he  could  speak  with  us  freely  and 


without  fear.  Realizing  what  we  were  attempting  to  convey, 
the  entity  broke  into  tears,  extremely  agitated,  and  at  the 
same  time  tried  to  come  close  to  where  Dr.  Laidlaw  sat. 

We  could  at  last  understand  most  of  the  words.  The 
entity  spoke  English,  but  with  a marked  Polish  accent.  The 
voice  sounded  rough,  uncouth,  not  at  all  like  Eileen  Gar- 
rett’s own. 

“Friend... friend... mercy.  I know. ..I  know...,” 
and  he  pointed  in  the  direction  of  Danton  Walker.  As  we 
pried,  gently  and  patiently,  more  information  came  from 
the  entity  on  the  floor  before  us.  “Stones,  stones. . . . Don’t 
let  them  take  me.  I can’t  talk.”  With  that  he  pointed  to  his 
head,  then  to  his  tongue. 

"No  stones.  You  will  not  be  stoned,”  Dr.  Laidlaw 
assured  him. 

“No  beatin’?” 

Laidlaw  assured  the  entity  that  he  could  talk,  and  that 
we  were  friends.  He  then  asked  what  the  entity’s  name 
might  be. 

"He  calls  me.  I have  to  get  out.  I cannot  go  any  fur- 
ther. In  God’s  name,  I cannot  go  any  further.” 

With  that,  the  entity  touched  Danton  Walker’s 
hands.  Walker  was  visibly  moved.  “I  will  protect  you,”  he 
said  simply. 

The  entity  kept  talking  about  “stones,”  and  we 
assumed  that  he  was  talking  about  stones  being  thrown  at 
him.  Actually,  he  was  talking  about  stones  under  which  he 
had  hidden  some  documents.  But  that  came  later.  Mean- 
while he  pointed  at  his  mouth  and  said,  "Teeth  gone,”  and 
he  graphically  demonstrated  how  they  had  been  kicked  in. 
"Protect  me,”  the  entity  said,  coming  closer  to  Walker 
again.  Dr.  Laidlaw  asked  whether  he  lived  here.  A violent 
gesture  was  his  answer.  “No,  oh,  no.  I hide  here.  Cannot 
leave  here.” 

It  appeared  that  he  was  hiding  from  another  man  and 
that  he  knew  the  plans,  which  he  had  hidden  in  a faraway 
spot.  “Where  did  you  hide  the  plans?”  Walker  demanded. 

“Give  me  map,”  the  entity  replied,  and  when  Walker 
handed  him  a writing  pad  and  a pen,  the  entity,  using  Mrs. 
Garrett’s  fingers,  of  course,  picked  it  up  as  if  he  were  han- 
dling a quill.  The  drawing,  despite  its  unsteady  and  vacil- 
lating lines  due  to  palsy,  was  nevertheless  a valid 
representation  of  where  the  entity  had  hidden  the  papers. 
“In  your  measure,  Andreas  hid. . .not  in  the  house. . .tim- 
ber house,  log  house. . .under  the  stones. . .fifteen 
stones. . .plans  for  the  whole  shifting  of  men  and  ammuni- 
tions I have  for  the  French.  Plans  I have  to  deliver  to  log 
house,  right  where  the  sun  strikes  window.  Where  sun 
strikes  the  window. . .fifteen  stones  under  in  log 
house. . .there  I have  put  away  plans.” 

This  was  followed  by  a renewed  outburst  of  fear, 
during  which  the  entity  begged  us  not  to  allow  him  to  be 
taken  again.  After  much  questioning,  the  entity  told  us  that 
he  was  in  need  of  protection,  that  he  was  Polish  and  had 

Major  Andre  and  the  Question  of  Loyalty 

143 


come  to  this  country  as  a young  man.  He  threw  his  arms 
around  Walker,  saying  that  he  was  like  a brother  to  him. 
“Gospodin,  gospodin,”  the  entity  said,  showing  his  joy  at 
finding  who  he  thought  was  his  brother  again.  "Me  Andre, 
you  Hans,”  he  exclaimed.  Walker  was  somewhat  non- 
plussed at  the  idea  of  being  Hans.  “My  brother”  the  entity 
said,  “he  killed  too. . .1  die. . .big  field,  battle.  Like  yester- 
day, like  yesterday..  .1  lie  here. . .English  all  over.  They 
are  terrible.” 

“Were  you  with  the  Americans?”  Dr.  Laidlaw  asked. 

Apparently  the  word  meant  nothing  to  him.  “No,  no. 
Big  word.  Republic  Protection.  The  stars  in  the  flag,  the 
stars  in  the  flag.  Republic. . . . They  sing.” 

“How  long  have  you  been  hiding  in  this  house?” 

“I  go  away  a little,  he  stays,  he  talk,  he  here  part  of 
the  time.” 

Uvani  returned  at  this  point,  taking  Andreas  out  of 
Eileen’s  body,  explaining  that  the  Polish  youngster  had 
been  a prisoner.  Apparently,  he  had  been  in  other  parts  of 
the  country  with  the  French  troops.  He  had  been  friendly 
with  various  people  in  the  Revolutionary  Army,  serving  as 
a jackboot  for  all  types  of  men,  a good  servant.  But  he  had- 
n’t understood  for  whom  he  was  working.  “He  refers  to  an 
Andre.”  Uvani  went  on  to  say,  “with  whom  he  is  in  con- 
tact for  some  time,  and  he  likes  this  Andre  very  much 
because  of  the  similar  name. . .because  he  is  Andrewski. 
There  is  this  similarity  to  Andre.  It  is  therefore  he  has 
been  used,  as  far  as  I can  see,  as  a cover-up  for  this  man. 
Here  then  is  the  confusion.  He  is  caught  two  or  three  times 
by  different  people  because  of  his  appearance;  he  is  a dead- 
ringer,  or  double.  His  friend  Andre  disappears,  and  he’s 
lost  and  does  what  he  can  with  this  one  and  that  one  and 
eventually  he  finds  himself  in  the  hands  of  the  British 
troops.  He  is  known  to  have  letters  and  plans,  and  these  he 
wants  me  to  tell  you  were  hidden  by  him  due  east  of  where 
you  now  find  yourselves,  in  what  he  says  was  a temporary 
building  of  sorts  in  which  were  housed  different  caissons. 

In  this  there  is  also  a rest  house  for  guards.  In  this  type 
kitchen  he  will  not  reveal  the  plans  and  is  beaten  merci- 
lessly. His  limbs  are  broken  and  he  passes  out,  no  longer  in 
the  right  mind,  but  with  a curious  break  on  one  side  of  the 
body,  and  his  leg  is  damaged.  It  would  appear  that  he  is 
from  time  to  time  like  one  in  a coma — he  wakes,  dreams, 
and  loses  himself  again,  and  I gather  from  the  story  that  he 
is  not  always  aware  of  people.” 

We  sat  in  stunned  silence  as  Uvani  explained  the 
story  to  us.  Then  we  joined  in  prayer  to  release  the  unfor- 
tunate one.  To  the  best  of  my  knowledge,  the  house  has 
been  free  from  further  disturbances  ever  since.  The  papers, 
of  course,  were  no  longer  in  their  hiding  place.  French  aux- 
iliary troops  under  Rochambeau  and  Lafayette  had  been  all 
over  the  land,  and  papers  must  have  gone  back  and  forth 
between  French  detachments  and  their  American  allies. 
Some  of  these  papers  may  have  been  of  lesser  importance 

CHAPTER  FIVE:  Famous  Ghosts 


and  could  have  been  entrusted  even  to  so  simple  a man  as 
Andreas. 

The  years  went  by,  Danton  Walker  himself  passed 
away,  and  the  house  changed  hands,  but  the  pewter  jar 
which  Danton  had  entrusted  to  my  care  was  still  in  my 
hands.  Johnny,  who  had  served  the  late  columnist  so  well 
for  all  those  years,  refused  to  take  it.  To  him,  it  meant  that 
the  ghost  might  attach  himself  to  him  now.  Under  the  cir- 
cumstances, I kept  the  jar  and  placed  it  in  a showcase  in 
my  home  along  with  many  other  antiquities  and  did  not 
give  the  matter  much  thought.  But  roughly  on  the  twenti- 
eth anniversary  of  the  original  expedition  to  the  house  in 
Rockland  County,  I decided  to  test  two  good  mediums  I 
work  with,  to  see  whether  any  of  the  past  secrets  clinging 
to  the  pewter  might  yet  be  unraveled. 

On  September  25,  1972,  I handed  Shawn  Robbins  a 
brown  paper  bag  in  which  the  pewter  jar  had  been  placed. 
But  Shawn  could  not  make  contact,  so  I took  out  the  object 
and  placed  it  directly  into  her  hands.  “I  pick  up  three  ini- 
tials and  a crest,”  she  began.  "The  first  thing  I see  are 
these  initials,  someone’s  name,  like  B.A.R.;  then  I see  a 
man  with  a beard,  and  he  may  have  been  very  important. 
There  is  another  man,  whom  I like  better,  however.  They 
look  Nordic  to  me,  because  of  the  strange  helmets  they 
wear.” 

“The  person  you  sense  here — is  he  a civilian  or  a 
soldier?” 

“I'm  thinking  of  the  word  ‘crown.’  There  is  someone 
here  who  wears  a crown;  the  period  is  the  1700s,  perhaps 
the  1600s.  The  King  wore  a crown  and  a white,  high  neck, 
like  a ruffled  collar,  and  then  armor.  That  is  one  of  the  lay- 
ers I get  from  this  object.” 

I realized,  of  course,  that  the  object  was  already  old 
when  the  American  Revolution  took  place.  Danton  Walker 
had  acquired  it  in  the  course  of  his  collecting  activities,  and 
it  had  no  direct  connection  with  the  house  itself. 

It  seemed  to  me  that  Shawn  was  psychometrizing  the 
object  quite  properly,  getting  down  to  the  original  layer 
when  it  was  first  created.  The  description  of  a seventeenth- 
century  English  king  was  indeed  quite  correct.  “The  armor 
is  a rough  color,  but  all  in  one  piece  and  worn  over  some- 
thing else,  some  velvet,  I think.  On  his  head,  there  is  a 
crown,  and  yet  I see  him  also  wearing  a hat.”  I couldn’t 
think  of  a better  description  of  the  way  King  Charles  II 
dressed,  and  the  pewter  pitcher  originated  during  his  reign. 

“What  are  some  of  the  other  layers  you  get?”  I asked. 

“There  is  a man  here  who  looks  as  if  he  either  broke 
his  neck  or  was  hanged.  This  man  is  the  strongest  influence 
I feel  with  this  object.  He  is  bearded  and  slightly  baldish  in 
front.” 

“Stick  with  him  then  and  try  to  find  out  who  he 
was.” 

Shawn  gave  the  object  another  thorough  investigation, 
touching  it  all  over  with  her  hands,  and  then  reported,  "He 
is  important  in  the  sense  that  the  object  is  haunted  by  him. 
He  was  murdered  by  a person  who  had  an  object  in  his 


144 


hand  that  looks  like  a scepter  to  me,  but  I don’t  know  what 
it  is.  The  man  in  back  of  him  killed  him:  he  got  it  in  the 
back  of  his  neck.  The  man  who  killed  him  is  in  a position 
of  power.” 

"What  about  the  victim — what  was  his  position?” 

“The  only  initials  I pick  up  are  something  like  Pont, 
or  perhaps  Boef.” 

While  this  did  not  correspond  to  Andreas,  it  seemed 
interesting  to  me  that  she  picked  up  two  French  names.  I 
recalled  that  the  unlucky  Polish  jackboot  had  served  the 
French  auxiliaries.  "Can  you  get  any  country  of  origin?” 

"It  is  hard  to  say,  but  the  man  who  was  murdered 
had  something  to  do  with  England.  Perhaps  the  man  who 
killed  him  did.” 

I then  instructed  Shawn  to  put  her  thumb  into  the 
dent  in  the  wall  of  the  pitcher  where  the  ghostly  hand  of 
Andreas  had  made  a depression.  Again,  Shawn  came  up 
with  the  name  Boef.  Since  I wasn’t  sure  whether  she  was 
picking  up  the  original  owner  of  the  pewter  pitcher  or  per- 
haps one  of  its  several  owners,  I asked  her  to  concentrate 
on  the  last  owner  and  the  time  during  which  he  had  had 
the  object  in  his  house. 

“The  letter  V is  an  important  initial  here,”  she  said, 
“and  I sense  a boat  coming  up.” 

I couldn’t  help  thinking  of  the  sloop  Vulture,  which 
Major  Andre  had  wanted  to  use  for  his  getaway  but  didn’t, 
and  which  saved  the  life  of  General  Arnold.  “Do  you  feel 
any  suffering  with  this  object?”  I asked. 

“Yes,”  Shawn  replied.  "A  man  was  murdered,  and  a 
woman  was  involved:  a woman,  an  older  person,  and  the 
murderer;  this  was  premeditated  murder.  The  victim  is  a 
good-looking  man,  not  too  old,  with  a moustache  or  beard, 
and  it  looks  as  if  they  are  taking  something  away  from  him 
which  is  part  of  him,  something  that  belonged  to  him.” 

“Was  it  something  he  had  on  his  person?” 

“When  he  was  murdered,  he  didn't  have  it  on  him, 
and  it  is  still  buried  somewhere,"  Shawn  replied. 

Shawn,  of  course,  had  no  idea  that  there  was  a con- 
nection between  the  object  she  was  psychometrizing  and 
the  Rockland  County  Ghost,  which  I had  written  about  in 
the  1960s.  "What  is  buried?”  I asked,  becoming  more 
intrigued  by  her  testimony  as  the  minutes  rolled  by. 

“There  is  something  he  owns  that  is  buried  some- 
where, and  I think  it  goes  back  to  a castle  or  house.  It  is 
not  buried  inside  but  outside.  It  is  buried  near  a grave,  and 
whoever  buried  it  was  very  smart.” 

"Why  was  he  killed?”  I asked. 

"I  see  him,  and  then  another  man,  besides,  who  is 
involved.  He  was  murdered  because  he  was  a friend  of  this 
man  and  his  cause.  They  are  wearing  something  funny  on 
their  heads.  One  of  them  is  holding  up  his  two  hands,  with 
an  object  with  a face  on  it,  a very  peculiar  thing.” 

"Can  you  tell  me  where  the  object  he  buried  is 
located?” 

“I  can’t  describe  it  unless  I can  draw  it.  Give  me  a 
pencil.  There  is  the  initial  'A’  here.” 


“Who  is  this  ‘A’?” 

“‘K’  would  be  another  initial  of  importance.  This  is 
the  hat  they  are  wearing.” 

Shawn  then  drew  what  looked  to  me  like  the  rough  outlines 
of  a fur-braided  hat,  the  kind  soldiers  in  the  late  eighteenth 
century  would  wear  in  the  winter.  The  initial  “A”  of 
course  startled  me,  since  it  might  belong  to  Andreas.  The 
"K”  I thought  might  refer  to  Kosciuszko,  the  leader  of  the 
Polish  auxiliary  forces  in  America  during  the  Revolutionary 
War,  who  wore  fur  hats.  "The  hat  is  part  metal,  but  there 
is  a red  feather  on  it,  actually  red  and  green,”  she  said. 

The  colors  were  quite  correct  for  the  period  involved. 

“This  man  is  in  love  with  an  older  woman;  he  is  a 
very  good  looking  fellow.  This  is  how  he  looks  to  me.” 
Shawn  drew  a rough  portrait  of  a man  in  the  wig  and  short 
tie  of  an  eighteenth-century  gentleman.  She  then  drew  the 
woman  also,  and  mentioned  that  she  wore  a flower  or  some 
sort  of  emblem.  It  reminded  her  of  a flower  or  a crest  and 
was  important.  "It  is  a crude  way  of  saying  something,  and 
the  letters  V.A.R.  come  in  here  also.  A crest  with  V.A.R. 
across  it,”  Shawn  said. 

"Tell  me  Shawn,”  I said,  steering  her  in  a somewhat 
different  direction,  "has  there  ever  been  any  psychic  mani- 
festation associated  with  this  object?” 

“Somebody’s  heavy  footsteps  are  associated  with  this. 
Things  would  move  in  a house.  By  themselves.” 

“Is  there  any  entity  attached  to  this  object?” 

“I  want  to  say  the  name  Victor. ” Was  she  getting 
Walker? 

As  I questioned  Shawn  further  about  the  object,  it 
became  increasingly  clear  that  she  was  speaking  of  the 
period  when  it  was  first  made.  She  described,  in  vivid 
words,  the  colors  and  special  designs  on  the  uniforms  of 
the  men  who  were  involved  with  the  object.  All  of  it  fit  the 
middle  or  late  seventeenth  century  but  obviously  had  noth- 
ing to  do  with  the  Revolutionary  War.  I was  not  surprised, 
since  I had  already  assumed  that  some  earlier  layer  would 
be  quite  strong.  But  then  she  mentioned  a boat  and 
remarked  that  it  was  going  up  a river.  “I  must  be  way  off 
on  this,”  Shawn  said,  somewhat  disappointed,  "because  I 
see  a windmill.” 

The  matter  became  interesting  again.  I asked  her 
what  became  of  “A.”  "There  are  three  or  four  men  in  the 
boat,”  Shawn  said.  “They  are  transporting  someone,  and  I 
think  it  is  ‘A’  on  his  way  to  his  execution.” 

“What  did  he  do?” 

“He  didn’t  do  anything — that  is  the  sad  part  of  it. 

He  was  just  a victim  of  circumstances.  He  is  an  innocent 
victim.” 

“Who  did  his  captors  think  he  was?” 

*Richard  Varick,  of  noble  Dutch  descent,  became  Aide-de-Camp  to 
General  Arnold  in  August  1780,  six  weeks  prior  to  the  treason.  He 
was  not  involved  in  it,  however. 

Major  Andre  and  the  Question  of  Loyalty 

145 


"An  important  person.” 

“Did  this  important  person  commit  a crime  or  did  he 
have  something  they  wanted?” 

“He  had  nothing  on  him,  but  the  initials  K.A.E.  A. 
are  of  importance  here.  That  is  an  important  name.  But 
they  have  the  wrong  man.  But  they  kill  him  anyway.  There 
is  a design  on  his  cloak,  which  looks  to  me  like  the  astro- 
logical Cancer  symbol,  like  the  crab.” 

“What  happens  further  on?” 

“They  are  leaving  the  windmill  now.  But  something 
is  going  to  happen  because  they  are  headed  that  way. 

Other  people  are  going  to  die  because  of  this.  Many.” 
Without  my  telling  her  to,  Shawn  touched  the  object  again. 
“I  feel  the  period  when  Marie  Antoinette  lived.  I have  the 
feeling  they  are  going  off  in  that  direction.  They  are  going 
to  France.  There  is  a general  here,  and  I get  the  initials 
L.A.M.  He,  too,  was  killed  in  the  war.” 

“But  why  is  A’  brought  to  this  general?” 

“Well,  A’  looks  to  me  as  if  he  had  changed  clothes, 
and  now  he  wears  black  with  a little  piece  of  white  here. 
They  are  obviously  conferring  about  something.  A is  con- 
ferring with  someone  else.  It  doesn’t  look  like  someone  in 
the  military,  and  he  is  hard  to  describe,  but  I never  saw  a 
uniform  like  this  before.  He  has  on  a beret  and  a medal.” 

“What  about  A?  Is  he  a civilian  or  an  officer?” 

"Truthfully,  he  is  really  an  officer.  I think  this  is 
what  the  whole  thing  is  all  about.  I think  they  captured 
someone  really  important.  He  probably  was  an  officer  in 
disguise,  not  wearing  the  right  coloring.  It  is  treason,  what 
else?  Could  he  have  sold  papers,  you  know,  secrets?” 

Shawn  felt  now  that  she  had  gotten  as  much  as  she 
could  from  the  object.  I found  her  testimony  intriguing,  to 
say  the  least.  There  were  elements  of  the  Andre  story  in  it, 
and  traces  of  Andreas’s  life  as  well.  Just  as  confusing,  it 
seemed  to  me,  as  the  mistaken-identity  problems  which 
had  caused  Andreas’  downfall.  All  this  time,  Shawn  had  no 
idea  that  Major  Andre  was  involved  in  my  investigation, 
no  idea  of  what  the  experiment  was  all  about.  As  far  as  she 
was  concerned,  she  had  been  asked  to  psychometrize  an  old 
pewter  jar,  and  nothing  else. 

On  October  3,  1972, 1 repeated  the  experiment  with 
Ethel  Johnson  Meyers.  Again,  the  pitcher  was  in  the  brown 
paper  bag.  Again,  the  medium  requested  to  hold  it  directly 
in  her  hands.  “I  see  three  women  and  a man  with  heavy 
features,”  she  began  immediately.  “Something  is  going  on, 
but  the  language  doesn’t  sound  English.  Now  there  is  a 
man  here  who  is  hurt,  blood  running  from  his  left  eye.” 

“How  did  he  get  hurt?” 

“There  are  some  violent  vibrations  here.  I hear  loud 
talking,  and  I feel  as  if  he  had  been  hit  with  this  pitcher. 

He  has  on  a waistcoat  or  brown  jacket,  either  plush  or  vel- 

*General  John  Lamb  was  sent  by  General  Washington  on  September 
25, 1780,  to  secure  Kings  Ferry  on  the  eve  of  Arnold's  treason. 

CHAPTER  FIVE:  Famous  Ghosts 


veteen,  and  a wide  collar.  Black  stockings  and  purple  shoes. 
Knickers  that  go  down  to  here,  and  of  the  same  material  as 
the  coat.” 

“Can  you  pinpoint  the  period?” 

"I  would  guess  around  the  time  of  Napoleon,”  Ethel 
said,  not  altogether  sure.  That  too  was  interesting  since  she 
obviously  wasn't  judging  the  jar  (which  was  far  older  than 
the  Napoleonic  period)  by  its  appearance.  As  far  as  the 
Major  Andre  incident  was  concerned,  she  was  about 
twenty  years  off.  “I  am  hearing  German  spoken,”  Ethel 
continued.  “I  think  this  object  has  seen  death  and  horror, 
and  I hear  violence  and  screams.  There  is  the  feeling  of 
murder,  and  a woman  is  involved.  I hear  a groan,  and  now 
there  is  more  blood.  I feel  there  is  also  a gash  on  the  neck. 
Once  in  a while,  I hear  an  English  word  spoken  with  a 
strange  accent.  I hear  the  name  Mary,  and  I think  this  is  at 
least  the  seventeenth  century.” 

I realized  that  she  was  speaking  of  the  early  history  of 
the  object,  and  I directed  her  to  tune  in  on  some  later 
vibrations.  “Has  this  object  ever  been  in  the  presence  of  a 
murder?”  I asked  directly. 

“This  man’s  fate  is  undeserved.  He  has  been  crossing 
over  from  a far  distance  into  a territory  where  he  is  not 
wanted  by  many,  and  he  is  not  worthy  of  that  protection 
which  he  has.  He  has  not  deserved  this;  he  has  no  political 
leanings;  he  has  not  offended  anyone  purposely.  His  pres- 
ence is  unwanted.  God  in  heaven  knows  that.” 

It  sounded  more  and  more  the  way  Andreas  spoke 
when  Eileen  Garrett  was  his  instrument.  Protection!  That 
was  the  word  he  kept  repeating,  more  than  any  other  word, 
protection  from  those  who  would  do  him  injustice  and  hurt 
him. 

"What  nationality  is  he?” 

“It  sounds  Italian.” 

“What  name  does  he  give  you?” 

“Rey...Rey.t  ..  .Man  betrayed.”  Ethel  was  sinking 
now  into  a state  of  semi-trance,  and  I noticed  some  pecu- 
liar facial  changes  coming  over  her;  it  was  almost  as  if  the 
entity  were  directing  her  answers. 

“Betrayed  by  whom?”  I asked,  bending  over  to  hear 
every  word. 

“The  ones  that  make  me  feel  safe." 

“Who  are  they?” 

“Bloody  Englishmen.” 

“Who  are  your  friends?” 

"I’m  getting  away  from  English.” 

“Is  there  something  this  person  has  that  someone  else 
wants?” 

“Yes,  that  is  how  it  is.” 

“Who  is  this  person  to  whom  all  these  terrible  things 
are  happening.” 

“Coming  over.  A scapegoat.” 

Again,  Ethel  managed  to  touch  both  the  earlier  layer 
and  the  involvement  with  the  Revolutionary  period,  but  in 

^AndR  Eas? 


146 


a confusing  and  intertwined  manner  which  made  it  difficult 
for  me  to  sort  out  what  she  was  telling  me.  Still,  there  were 
elements  that  were  quite  true  and  which  she  could  not  have 
known,  since  she,  like  Shawn,  had  no  idea  what  the  object 
was  or  why  I was  asking  her  to  psychometrize  it.  It  was 
clear  to  me  that  no  ghostly  entity  had  attached  to  the 
object,  however,  and  that  whatever  the  two  mediums  had 
felt  was  in  the  past.  A little  lighter  in  my  heart,  I replaced 
the  object  in  my  showcase,  hoping  that  it  would  in  time 
acquire  some  less  violent  vibrations  from  the  surrounding 
objects. 

As  for  Andreas  and  Andre,  one  had  a brief  moment 
in  the  limelight,  thanks  chiefly  to  psychical  research,  while 
the  other  is  still  a major  figure  in  both  American  and 
British  history.  After  his  execution  on  October  2,  1780,  at 
Tappan,  Andre  was  buried  at  the  foot  of  the  gallows.  In 
1821  his  body  was  exhumed  and  taken  to  England  and 
reburied  at  Westminster  Abbey.  By  1880  tempers  had  suf- 
ficiently cooled  and  British- American  friendship  was  firmly 
enough  established  to  permit  the  erection  of  a monument 
to  the  event  on  the  spot  where  the  three  militia  men  had 
come  across  Major  Andre.  Actually,  the  monument  itself 
was  built  in  1853,  but  on  the  occasion  of  the  centennial  of 
Andre’s  capture,  a statue  and  bronze  plaque  were  added 


and  the  monument  surrounded  with  a protective  metal 
fence.  It  stands  near  a major  road  and  can  easily  be 
observed  when  passing  by  car.  It  is  a beautiful  monument, 
worthy  of  the  occasion.  There  is  only  one  thing  wrong  with 
it,  be  it  ever  so  slight:  It  stands  at  the  wrong  spot.  My  good 
friend,  Elliott  Schryver,  the  eminent  editor  and  scholar, 
pointed  out  the  actual  spot  at  some  distance  to  the  east. 

In  studying  Harry  Hansen’s  book  on  the  area,  I have 
the  impression  that  he  shares  this  view.  In  order  to  make  a 
test  of  my  own,  we  stopped  by  the  present  monument,  and 
I asked  Ingrid  to  tell  me  what  she  felt.  I had  purposely  told 
her  that  the  spot  had  no  direct  connection  with  anything 
else  we  were  doing  that  day,  so  she  could  not  consciously 
sense  what  the  meaning  of  our  brief  stop  was.  Walking 
around  the  monument  two  or  three  times,  touching  it,  and 
“taking  in”  the  atmosphere  psychically,  she  finally  came  up 
to  me,  shook  her  head,  and  said,  “I  am  sorry,  Hans,  there 
is  absolutely  nothing  here.  Nothing  at  all.” 

But  why  not?  If  the  Revolutionary  taverns  can  be 
moved  a considerable  distance  to  make  them  more  accessi- 
ble to  tourists,  why  shouldn’t  a monument  be  erected 
where  everyone  can  see  it  instead  of  in  some  thicket  where 
a prospective  visitor  might  break  a leg  trying  to  find  it? 
Nobody  cares,  least  of  all  Major  Andre. 


# 16 

Benedict  Arnold’s  Friend 

“I  WAS  COMPLETELY  FASCINATED  by  your  recent  book,” 
read  a letter  by  Gustav  j.  Kramer  of  Claverack,  New  York. 
Mr.  Kramer,  it  developed,  was  one  of  the  leading  lights  of 
the  Chamber  of  Commerce  in  the  town  of  Hudson  and 
wrote  a column  for  the  Hudson  Register-Star  on  the  side. 
"During  the  past  three  years  I have  specialized  in  writing 
so-called  ghost  stories  for  my  column,”  he  explained.  "We 
have  a number  of  haunted  houses  in  this  historic  section  of 
the  Hudson  Valley.  President  Martin  Van  Buren’s  home  is 
nearby  and  is  honestly  reputed  to  be  the  scene  of  some 
highly  disturbing  influences.  Aaron  Burr,  the  killer  of 
Alexander  Hamilton,  hid  out  in  a secret  room  of  this  estate 
and  has  reliably  been  reported  to  have  been  seen  on 
numerous  occasions  wandering  through  the  upper  halls.” 

This  was  in  1963,  and  I had  not  yet  investigated  the 
phenomena  at  Aaron  Burr’s  stables  in  lower  Manhattan  at 
the  time.  Perhaps  what  people  saw  in  the  house  was  an 
imprint  of  Burr’s  thought  forms. 

From  this  initial  letter  developed  a lively  correspon- 
dence between  us,  and  for  nearly  two  years  I promised  to 
come  to  the  Hudson  Valley  and  do  some  investigating, 
provided  that  Mr.  Kramer  came  up  with  something  more 
substantial  than  hearsay. 


It  wasn’t  until  July  1965  that  he  came  up  with  what 
he  considered  “the  house.”  He  explained  that  it  had  a cold 
spot  in  it  and  that  the  owner,  a Mrs.  Dorothea  Connacher, 
a teacher  by  profession,  was  a quiet  and  reserved  lady  who 
had  actually  had  a visual  experience  in  the  attic  of  this  very 
old  house. 

My  brother-in-law’s  untimely  and  unexpected  death 
postponed  our  journey  once  again,  so  we — meaning  Ethel 
Johnson  Meyers,  the  medium,  my  wife  Catherine,  and  I — 
weren’t  ready  to  proceed  to  Columbia  County,  New  York, 
until  early  February  1966.  GHOST  HUNTER  VISITS  HUD- 
SON, Gus  Kramer  headlined  in  his  column.  He  met  us  at 
the  exit  from  the  Taconic  Parkway  and  took  us  to  lunch 
before  proceeding  further. 

It  was  early  afternoon  when  we  arrived  at  Mrs.  Con- 
nacher’s  house,  which  was  situated  a few  minutes  away  on 
a dirt  road,  standing  on  a fair-sized  piece  of  land  and  sur- 
rounded by  tall,  old  trees.  Because  of  its  isolation,  one  had 
the  feeling  of  being  far  out  in  the  country,  when  in  fact  the 
thru  way  connecting  New  York  with  Albany  passes  a mere 
ten  minutes  away.  The  house  is  gleaming  white,  or  nearly 
so,  for  the  ravages  of  time  have  taken  their  toll.  Mr.  and 
Mrs.  Connacher  bought  it  twenty  years  prior  to  our  visit, 
but  after  divorcing  Mr.  Connacher,  she  was  unable  to  keep 
it  up  as  it  should  have  been,  and  gradually  the  interior 
especially  fell  into  a state  of  disrepair.  The  outside  still 

Benedict  Arnold’s  Friend 


147 


showed  its  noble  past,  those  typically  colonial  manor  house 
traits,  such  as  the  columned  entrance,  the  Grecian  influence 
in  the  construction  of  the  roof,  and  the  beautiful  colonial 
shutters. 

New  York  State  in  the  dead  of  winter  is  a cold  place 
indeed.  As  we  rounded  the  curve  of  the  dirt  road  and  saw 
the  manor  house  looming  at  the  end  of  a short  carriage 
way,  we  wondered  how  the  lady  of  the  house  was  able  to 
heat  it.  After  we  were  inside,  we  realized  she  had  difficul- 
ties in  that  respect. 

For  the  moment,  however,  I halted  a few  yards  away 
from  the  house  and  took  some  photographs  of  this  visually 
exciting  old  house.  Ethel  Johnson  Meyers  knew  nothing 
about  the  house  or  why  we  were  there.  In  fact,  part  of  our 
expedition  was  for  the  purpose  of  finding  a country  home 
to  live  in.  Ethel  thought  we  were  taking  her  along  to  serve 
as  consultant  in  the  purchase  of  a house,  since  she  herself 
owns  a country  home  and  knows  a great  deal  about  houses. 
Of  course,  she  knew  that  there  were  a couple  of  interesting 
places  en  route,  but  she  took  that  for  granted,  having 
worked  with  me  for  many  years.  Even  while  we  were 
rounding  the  last  bend  and  the  house  became  visible  to 
us,  Ethel  started  getting  her  first  impressions  of  the  case. 

I asked  her  to  remain  seated  in  the  car  and  to  tell  me 
about  it. 

“I  see  two  people,  possibly  a third.  The  third  person 
is  young,  a woman  with  a short,  rather  upturned  nose  and 
large  eyes,  but  she  seems  to  be  dimmer  than  the  impres- 
sion of  the  men.  The  men  are  very  strong.  One  of  them 
has  a similar  upturned  nose  and  dark  skin.  He  wears  a 
white  wig.  There  is  also  an  older  woman.  She  seems  to 
look  at  me  as  if  she  wants  to  say,  Why  are  you  staring  at 
me  that  way?”  Ethel  explained  to  the  spirit  in  an  earnest 
tone  of  voice  why  she  had  come  to  the  house,  that  she 
meant  no  harm  and  had  come  as  a friend,  and  if  there  were 
anything  she  could  do  for  them,  they  should  tell  her. 

While  this  one-sided  conversation  was  going  on, 
Catherine  and  I sat  in  the  car,  waiting  for  it  to  end.  Gus 
Kramer  had  gone  ahead  to  announce  our  arrival  to  Mrs. 
Connacher. 

“What  sort  of  clothing  is  the  woman  wearing — I 
mean  the  older  woman?”  I asked. 

“She’s  got  on  some  kind  of  a white  dusting  cap,” 

Ethel  replied,  “and  her  hair  is  sticking  out.” 

“Can  you  tell  what  period  they  are  from?” 

“He  wears  a wig,  and  she  has  some  sort  of  kerchief, 
wide  at  the  shoulders  and  pointed  in  back.  The  blouse  of 
her  dress  fits  tight.  The  dress  goes  down  to  the  floor,  as  far 
as  I can  see.  The  bottom  of  the  dress  is  ruffled.  I should 
say  she  is  a woman  in  her  sixties,  perhaps  even  older." 

“What  about  the  man?" 

“I  think  one  of  the  women  could  be  his  daughter, 
because  the  noses  are  alike,  sort  of  pug  noses.” 

“Do  you  get  any  names  or  initials?” 

CHAPTER  FIVE:  Famous  Ghosts 


“The  letter  ‘B’  is  important.” 

“Do  you  get  any  other  people?” 

“There  is  a woman  with  dark  hair  parted  in  the  mid- 
dle, and  there  is  a man  with  a strange  hat  on  his  head. 

Then  there  is  someone  with  an  even  stranger  hat,  octagonal 
in  shape  and  very  high.  I’ve  never  seen  a hat  like  that 
before.  There  is  something  about  a B.A.  A Bachelor  of 
Arts?  Now  I pick  up  the  name  Ben.  I am  sorry,  but  I don't 
think  I can  do  any  more  outside.” 

“In  that  case,”  I said,  “let  us  continue  inside  the 
house.”  But  I asked  Ethel  to  wait  in  the  car  while  I inter- 
viewed the  owner  of  the  house.  Afterward,  she  was  to  come 
in  and  try  trance. 

Mrs.  Dorothea  Connacher  turned  out  to  be  a smallish 
lady  in  her  later  years,  and  the  room  we  entered  first  gave 
the  impression  of  a small,  romantic  jumble  shop.  Antiqui- 
ties, old  furniture,  a small  new  stove  so  necessary  on  this 
day,  pictures  on  the  walls,  books  on  shelves,  and  all  of  it  in 
somewhat  less  than  perfect  order  made  it  plain  that  Mrs. 
Connacher  wasn’t  quite  able  to  keep  up  with  the  times,  or 
rather  that  the  house  demanded  more  work  than  one  per- 
son could  possibly  manage.  Mrs.  Connacher  currently  lived 
there  with  her  son,  Richmond,  age  thirty-six.  Her  husband 
had  left  three  years  after  she  had  moved  into  the  house.  I 
asked  her  about  any  psychic  experiences  she  might  have 
had. 

“Both  my  husband  and  I are  freelance  artists,”  she 
began,  “and  my  husband  used  to  go  to  New  York  to  work 
three  days  a week,  and  the  rest  of  the  time  he  worked  at 
home.  One  day  shortly  after  we  had  moved  in,  I was  alone 
in  the  house.  That  night  I had  a dream  that  my  husband 
would  leave  me.  At  the  time  I was  so  happy  I couldn’t 
understand  how  this  could  happen.” 

The  dream  became  reality  a short  time  later.  It 
wasn’t  the  only  prophetic  dream  Mrs.  Connacher  had.  On 
previous  occasions  she  had  had  dreams  concerning  dead 
relatives  and  various  telepathic  experiences. 

“What  about  the  house?  When  did  it  start  here?” 

“We  were  in  the  house  for  about  five  months.  We 
had  been  told  that  everything  belonging  to  the  former  own- 
ers had  been  taken  out  of  the  house — there  had  been  an 
auction,  and  these  things  had  been  sold.  There  really 
wasn’t  anything  up  in  the  attic,  so  we  were  told.  My  hus- 
band and  I had  been  up  a couple  of  times  to  explore  it. 

We  were  fascinated  by  the  old  beams,  with  their  wooden 
pegs  dating  back  to  the  eighteenth  century.  There  was 
nothing  up  there  except  some  old  picture  frames  and  a 
large  trunk.  It  is  still  up  there. 

“Well,  finally  we  became  curious  and  opened  it,  and 
there  were  a lot  of  things  in  it.  It  seemed  there  were  little 
pieces  of  material  all  tied  up  in  bundles.  But  we  didn’t  look 
too  closely;  I decided  to  come  up  there  some  day  when  I 
had  the  time  to  investigate  by  myself.  My  husband  said  he 
was  too  busy  right  then  and  wanted  to  go  down. 

“A  few  days  later,  when  I was  home  alone,  I decided 
to  go  upstairs  again  and  look  through  the  trunk.  The  attic 


148 


is  rather  large,  and  there  are  only  two  very  small  windows 
in  the  far  corner.  I opened  the  trunk,  put  my  hands  into  it, 
and  took  out  these  little  pieces  of  material,  but  in  order  to 
see  better  I took  them  to  the  windows.  When  I got  to  the 
bottom  of  the  trunk,  I found  a little  waistcoat,  a hat,  and  a 
peculiar  bonnet,  the  kind  that  was  worn  before  1800. 1 
thought,  what  a small  person  this  must  have  been  who 
could  have  worn  this!  At  first  I thought  it  might  have  been 
for  a child;  but  no,  it  was  cut  for  an  adult,  although  a very 
tiny  person.” 

As  Mrs.  Connacher  was  standing  there,  fascinated  by 
the  material,  she  became  aware  of  a pinpoint  of  light  out  of 
the  corner  of  her  eye.  Her  first  thought  was,  I must  tell  Jim 
that  there  is  a hole  in  the  roof  where  this  light  is  coming 
through.  But  she  kept  looking  and,  being  preoccupied  with 
the  material  in  the  trunk,  paid  no  attention  to  the  light. 
Something,  however,  made  her  look  up,  and  she  noticed 
that  the  light  had  now  become  substantially  larger.  Also,  it 
was  coming  nearer,  changing  its  position  all  the  time.  The 
phenomenon  began  to  fascinate  her.  She  wasn’t  thinking  of 
ghosts  or  psychic  phenomena  at  all,  merely  wondering 
what  this  was  all  about.  As  the  light  came  nearer  and 
nearer,  she  suddenly  thought,  why,  that  looks  like  a human 
figure! 

Eventually,  it  stopped  near  the  trunk,  and  Mrs.  Con- 
nacher realize  it  was  a human  figure,  the  figure  of  an 
elderly  lady.  She  was  unusually  small  and  delicate  and  wore 
the  very  bonnet  Mrs.  Connacher  had  discovered  at  the  bot- 
tom of  the  trunk!  The  woman’s  clothes  seemed  gray,  and 
Mrs.  Connacher  noticed  the  apron  the  woman  was  wearing. 
As  she  watched  the  ghostly  apparition  in  fascinated  horror, 
the  little  lady  used  her  apron  in  a movement  that  is  gener- 
ally used  in  the  country  to  shoo  away  chickens.  However, 
the  motion  was  directed  against  her,  as  if  the  apparition 
wanted  to  shoo  her  away  from  “her”  trunk! 

"I  was  frightened.  I saw  the  bonnet  and  the  apron 
and  this  woman  shooing  me  away,  and  she  seemed  com- 
pletely solid,”  Mrs.  Connacher  said. 

“What  did  you  do?” 

"I  walked  around  in  back  of  the  trunk  to  see  whether 
she  was  still  there.  She  was.  I said,  all  right,  all  right.  But  I 
didn’t  want  to  look  at  her.  I could  feel  my  hair  stand  up 
and  decided  to  go  down.  I was  worried  I might  fall  down 
the  stairs,  but  I made  it  all  right.” 

“Did  you  ever  see  her  again?” 

"No.  But  there  were  all  sorts  of  unusual  noises.  Once 
my  husband  and  I were  about  to  go  off  to  sleep  when  it 
sounded  as  if  someone  had  taken  a baseball  bat  and  hit  the 
wall  with  it  right  over  our  heads;  That  was  in  the  upstairs 
bedroom.  The  spot  isn’t  too  far  from  the  attic,  next  to  the 
staircase.” 

“Have  other  people  had  experiences  here?” 

“Well,  my  sister  Clair  had  a dream  about  the  house 
before  she  had  been  here.  When  she  came  here  for  the  first 
time  she  said  she  wanted  to  see  the  attic.  I was  surprised, 
for  I had  not  even  told  her  that  there  was  an  attic.  She 


rushed  right  upstairs,  but  when  she  saw  it,  she  turned 
around,  and  her  face  was  white;  it  was  exactly  what  she 
had  seen  in  her  dream.  Then  there  was  this  carpenter  who 
had  worked  for  me  repairing  the  attic  and  doing  other 
chores  on  the  property.  After  he  came  down  from  the  attic, 
he  left  and  hasn’t  been  back  since.  No  matter  how  often  I 
ask  him  to  come  and  do  some  work  for  me,  he  never  shows 
up.” 

“Maybe  the  little  old  lady  shooed  him  away  too,”  I 
said.  “What  about  those  cold  spots  Gus  has  been  telling 
me  about?” 

“I  only  have  a fireplace  and  this  small  heater  here. 
Sometimes  you  just  can’t  get  the  room  warm.  But  there  are 
certain  spots  in  the  house  that  are  always  cold.  Even  in  the 
summertime  people  ask  whether  we  have  air  conditioning.” 

"When  was  the  house  built?” 

"One  part  has  the  date  1837  engraved  in  the  stone 
downstairs.  The  older  part  goes  back  two  hundred  years.” 

“Did  any  of  the  previous  owners  say  anything  about 
a ghost?” 

"No.  Before  us  were  the  Turners,  and  before  them 
the  Link  family  owned  it  for  a very  long  time.  But  we 
never  talked  about  such  things.” 

I then  questioned  Gus  Kramer  about  the  house  and 
about  his  initial  discussions  with  Mrs.  Connacher.  It  is  not 
uncommon  for  a witness  to  have  a better  memory  immedi- 
ately upon  telling  of  an  experience  than  at  a later  date 
when  the  story  has  been  told  and  told  again.  Sometimes  it 
becomes  embroidered  by  additional,  invented  details,  but  at 
other  times  it  loses  some  of  its  detail  because  the  storyteller 
no  longer  cares  or  has  forgotten  what  was  said  under  the 
immediate  impression  of  the  experience  itself. 

"Mrs.  Connacher  was  holding  an  old,  musty  woman’s 
blouse  at  the  time  when  the  apparition  appeared,”  Gus 
said.  “At  the  time  she  felt  that  there  was  a connection 
between  her  holding  this  piece  of  clothing  and  her 
sighting.” 

"Have  you  yourself  ever  experienced  anything  in  the 
Connacher  house?” 

“Well,  the  last  time  I visited  here,  we  were  sitting  in 
the  dim,  cluttered  living  room,  when  I noticed  the  dog  fol- 
low an  imaginary  something  with  his  eyes  from  one  bed- 
room door  to  the  door  that  leads  to  the  attic,  where  Mrs. 
Connacher ’s  experience  took  place.  He  then  lay  down  with 
his  head  between  his  paws  and  his  eyes  fastened  on  the 
attic  door.  I understand  he  does  this  often  and  very  fre- 
quently fastens  his  gaze  on  ‘something’  behind  Mrs.  Con- 
nacher’s  favorite  easy  chair  when  she  is  in  it.  I assure  you, 
the  hairs  on  the  back  of  my  neck  stood  up  like  brush  bris- 
tles while  watching  that  dog.” 

I decided  to  get  Ethel  out  of  the  car,  which  by  now 
must  have  become  a cold  spot  of  its  own.  "Ethel,”  I said, 
“you  are  standing  in  the  living  room  of  this  house  now. 
There  is  another  story  above  this  one  and  there  is  an  attic. 

Benedict  Arnold’s  Friend 


149 


I want  you  to  tell  me  if  there  is  any  presence  in  this  house 
and,  if  so,  what  area  you  feel  is  most  affected. 

“The  top,”  Ethel  replied,  without  a moment’s 
hesitation. 

“Is  there  a presence  there?” 

“Yes,”  Ethel  said  firmly.  We  had  stepped  into  the 
next  room,  where  there  was  a large,  comfortable  easy  chair. 

I tried  to  get  Ethel  to  sit  down  in  it,  but  she  hesitated. 

“No,  I want  to  go  somewhere.”  I had  the  distinct  impres- 
sion that  she  was  gradually  falling  into  trance,  and  I 
wanted  her  in  a safe  chair  when  the  trance  took  hold. 
Memories  of  an  entranced  Ethel  being  manipulated  by  an 
unruly  ghost  were  too  fresh  in  my  mind  to  permit  such 
chance-taking.  I managed  to  get  her  back  into  the  chair  all 
right.  A moment  later,  a friendly  voice  spoke,  saying, 
“Albert,  Albert,”  and  I realized  that  Ethel’s  control  had 
taken  over.  But  it  was  a very  brief  visit.  A moment  later,  a 
totally  different  voice  came  from  the  medium’s  entranced 
lips.  At  first,  I could  not  understand  the  words.  There  was 
something  about  a wall.  Then  a cheery  voice  broke 
through.  “Who  are  you,  and  what  the  hell  are  you  doing 
here?” 

When  you  are  a psychic  investigator,  you  sometimes 
answer  a question  with  another  question.  In  this  case,  I 
demanded  to  know  who  was  speaking.  “Loyal,  loyal,”  the 
stranger  replied.  I assured  “him”  that  we  had  come  as 
friends  and  that  he — for  it  sounded  like  a man — could 
safely  converse  with  us.  “Will  you  speak  to  me  then?”  he 
asked. 

“Can  I help  you?”  I replied. 

"Well,  I’ll  help  others;  they  need  help.” 

"Is  this  your  house?  Who  are  you?”  But  the  stranger 
wouldn’t  identify  himself  just  yet.  “Why  were  you  brought 
in?  Who  brought  you  here?” 

“My  house,  yes.  My  house,  my  house.” 

“What  is  your  name,  please?”  I asked  routinely. 
Immediately,  I felt  resistance. 

"What  is  that  to  you,  sir?” 

I explained  that  I wanted  to  introduce  myself 
properly. 

“I’m  loyal,  loyal,”  the  voice  assured  me. 

"Loyal  to  whom,  may  I ask?” 

“His  Majesty,  sir;  do  you  know  that  George?” 

I asked  in  which  capacity  the  entity  was  serving  His 
Majesty.  “Who  are  you?  You  ask  for  help.  Help  for  what?” 

We  weren’t  getting  anywhere,  it  seemed  to  me.  But 
these  things  take  time,  and  I have  a lot  of  patience. 

“Can  you  tell  me  who  you  are?” 

Instead,  the  stranger  became  more  urgent.  “When  is 
he  coming,  when  is  he  coming?  When  is  he  coming  to  help 
me?” 

“Whom  do  you  expect?”  I replied.  I tried  to  assure 
him  that  whomever  he  was  expecting  would  arrive  soon,  at 


CHAPTER  FIVE:  Famous  Ghosts 


the  same  time  attempting  to  find  out  whom  he  was  talking 
about.  This,  of  course,  put  him  on  his  guard. 

“I  don’t  say  anymore." 

Again  I asked  that  he  identify  himself  so  I could 
address  him  by  his  proper  name  and  rank. 

“You  are  not  loyal,  you,  you,  who  are  in  my  house?” 

“Well,  I was  told  you  needed  help.” 

But  the  entity  refused  to  give  his  name.  “I  fear.” 

“There  is  no  need  to  fear.  I am  a friend.  You  are 
making  it  very  difficult  for  me.  I am  afraid  I cannot  stay 
unless  you — ” I hinted. 

“When  will  he  come?  When  will  he  come?” 

“Who  are  you  waiting  for?” 

“Horatio.  Horatio  Gates.  Where  is  he?  Tell  me,  I am 
a loyal  subject.  Where  is  he?  Tell  me.” 

"Well,  if  you  are  loyal,  you  will  identify  yourself. 

You  have  to  identify  yourself  before  I can  be  of  any  service 
to  you.” 

Instead,  the  entity  broke  into  bitter  laughter.  “My 
name,  ha  ha  ha.  Trap!  Trap!” 

I assured  him  it  was  no  trap.  “You  know  me,  you 
do,”  he  said.  I assured  him  that  I didn’t.  “You  know  me  if 
you  come  here,  ha  ha  ha.” 

I decided  to  try  a different  tack.  “What  year  are  we 

in?” 

This  didn’t  go  down  well  with  him  either.  “Madman, 
madman.  Year,  year.  You’re  not  of  this  house.  Go.” 

“Look,”  I said,  “we’ve  come  a long  distance  to  speak 
with  you.  You’ve  got  to  be  cooperative  if  we  are  going  to 
help  you.”  But  the  stranger  insisted,  and  repeated  the  ques- 
tion: When  will  he  come?  I started  to  explain  that  “he” 
wouldn’t  come  at  all,  that  a lot  of  time  had  gone  by  and 
that  the  entity  had  been  “asleep.” 

Now  it  was  the  entity’s  turn  to  ask  who  I was.  But 
before  I could  tell  him  again,  he  cried  out,  “Ben,  where  are 
you?”  I wanted  to  know  who  Ben  was,  at  the  same  time 
assuring  him  that  much  time  had  passed  and  that  the 
house  had  changed  hands.  But  it  didn’t  seem  to  make  any 
impression  on  him.  “Where  is  he?  Are  you  he?  Is  that  you? 
Speak  to  me!” 

I decided  to  play  along  to  get  some  more  information. 
But  he  realized  right  away  that  I was  not  the  one  he  was 
expecting.  “You  are  not  he,  are  you  he?  I can’t  hang  by  my 
throat.  I will  not  hang  by  my  throat.  No,  no,  no.” 

“Nobody’s  threatening  you.  Have  you  done  anything 
that  you  fear?” 

“My  own  Lord  God  knows  that  I am  innocent.  If  I 
have  a chance.  Why,  why,  why?” 

“Who  is  threatening  you?  Tell  me.  I’m  on  your 
side." 

“But  you  will  get  me.” 

“I’ve  come  to  help  you.  This  is  your  house,  is  it  not? 
What  is  your  name?  You  have  to  identify  yourself  so  that  I 
know  that  I haven’t  made  a mistake,”  I said,  pleading  with 
him.  All  the  time  this  was  going  on,  Gus  Kramer,  Mrs. 
Connacher,  and  my  wife  watched  in  fascinated  silence. 


150 


Ethel  looked  like  an  old  man  now,  not  at  all  like  her  own 
self.  There  was  a moment  of  hesitation,  a pause.  Then  the 
voice  spoke  again,  this  time,  it  seemed  to  me,  in  a softer 
vein. 

“Let  me  be  called  Anthony.” 

“Anthony  what?" 

“Where  is  he?  I wait.  I’ve  got  to  kill  him.”  I 
explained  how  it  was  possible  for  him  to  speak  to  us  in  our 
time.  But  it  seemed  to  make  no  impression  on  him.  "He 
was  here.  He  was  here.  I know  it.” 

“Who  was  here?”  I asked,  and  repeated  that  he  had 
to  identify  himself. 

“But  I may  go?”  There  was  a sense  of  urgency  in  his 
voice. 

“Would  you  like  to  leave  this  house?” 

“My  house,  why  my  house?  To  hang  here.  My 
daughter,  she  may  go  with  you.” 

“What  is  your  daughter’s  name?” 

“Where  you  lead,  I go,  she  says.  But  she  too  will 
hang  here  if  I do  not  go.  She  too.  God  take  me,  you  will 
take  me.” 

I assured  him  that  he  could  leave  the  house  safely 
and  need  not  return  again.  “You  will  be  safe.  You’ll  see 
your  daughter  again.  But  you  must  understand,  there  is  no 
more  war.  No  more  killing.” 

"She  died  right  here,  my  sweet  daughter,  she  died 
right  here." 

“What  happened  to  you  after  that?” 

“I  sit  here;  you  see  me.  I sit  here.  I will  go.” 

“How  old  are  you?” 

“I’m  not  so  old  that  I can't  go  from  here,  where  the 
fields  are  fertile,  and  oh!  no  blood.” 

“Where  would  you  like  to  go  from  here?” 

“Far  away.  Sweet  Jennie  died.  Take  me  from  here. 

He  does  not  come.” 

"I  promise  to  take  you.  Just  be  calm.” 

“Oh,  Horatio,  Horatio,  you  have  promised.  Why  did 
he  come  instead  of  you,  Horatio?” 

“Did  you  serve  under  Horatio  Gates?” 

“Arnold,  are  you  he?  No.” 

“If  you’re  looking  for  Arnold,  he’s  dead.” 

“You  lie.” 

Again,  I explained,  tactfully,  about  the  passage  of 
time.  But  he  would  hear  none  of  it. 

“You  lie  to  me.  He  will  come.  You  lie.” 

“No,”  I replied.  “It  is  true.  Arnold  is  dead.” 

"Why?  Why,  why,  why?  He  is  gone,  is  he?” 

"Is  your  name  Anthony?” 

Eagerly  he  replied:  “Oh,  yes,  it  is.  They  don’t  want 
me  to  go  from  here,  but  I must  go,  they’ll  hang  me.  Don’t 
let  them  hang  me.”  I assured  him  that  I wouldn’t.  “My 
daughter,  my  sweet  child.  Oh  why,  because  we  swear  alle- 
giance to. . .Now  I hang  here.  They  will  come  to  get  me; 
they  will  come.  Where  is  he?  He  has  forsaken  me.” 

“A  lot  of  time  has  gone  by.  You  have  passed  on.” 

“No.  Madness.  John,  John,  help  me.  Come  quick.” 


I informed  the  entity  that  he  was  speaking  through  a 
female  instrument,  and  to  touch  his  instrument’s  hair.  That 
way,  he  would  be  convinced  that  it  wasn’t  his  own  body  he 
was  in  at  present. 

“John,  John,  where  are  you?  I’m  dreaming.” 

I assured  him  that  he  wasn't  dreaming,  and  that  I 
was  speaking  the  truth. 

“I  am  mad,  I am  mad.” 

I assured  him  that  he  was  sane. 

“They  hold  me.  Oh,  Jesus  Christ!” 

I began  the  usual  rescue-circle  procedure,  explaining 
that  by  wanting  to  be  with  his  daughter,  who  had  gone  on 
before  him,  he  could  leave  this  house  where  his  tragedy 
had  kept  him.  “Go  from  this  house.  You  are  free  to  join 
your  daughter.  Go  in  peace;  we’ll  pray  for  you.  There  is 
nothing  to  fear.”  A moment  later,  the  entity  was  gone  and 
Albert  had  returned  to  Ethel  Meyers’s  body. 

Usually,  I question  Albert,  the  control  personality, 
concerning  any  entity  that  has  been  permitted  to  speak 
through  Ethel  Meyers’  instrumentality.  Sometimes  addi- 
tional information  or  the  previous  information  in  more 
detailed  and  clarified  form  emerges  from  these  discussions. 
But  Albert  explained  that  he  could  not  give  me  the  man’s 
name.  “He  gives  false  names.  As  far  as  we  can  judge  here, 
he  believes  he  was  hanged.  He  was  a Loyalist,  refusing  to 
take  refuge  with  Americans.  He  didn’t  pose  as  a Revolu- 
tionary until  the  very  end,  when  he  thought  he  could  be 
saved.”  Albert  explained  that  this  had  taken  place  in  this 
house  during  the  Revolutionary  War. 

“Why  does  he  think  he  was  hanged?  Was  he?” 

“I  don’t  see  this  happening  in  this  house.  I believe  he 
was  taken  from  here,  yes.” 

“What  about  other  entities  in  this  house?” 

“There  have  been  those  locked  in  secret  here,  who 
have  had  reason  to  be  here.  They  are  all  still  around. 

There  is  a woman  who  died  and  who  used  to  occupy  this 
part  of  the  house  and  up  to  the  next  floor.  Above,  I think  I 
hear  those  others  who  have  been  wounded  and  secreted 
here.” 

I asked  Albert  if  he  could  tell  us  anything  further 
about  the  woman  who  had  been  seen  in  the  house.  “I 
remember  I showed  this  to  my  instrument  before.  She  was 
wearing  a white,  French-like  kerchief  hat  with  lace  and  lit- 
tle black  ribbons.  There  are  two  women,  but  one  is  the 
mother  to  this  individual  here.  I am  talking  about  the  older 
woman.” 

“Why  is  she  earthbound?” 

“Because  she  passed  here  and  remained  simply 
because  she  wanted  to  watch  her  husband’s  struggles  to 
save  himself  from  being  dishonored  and  discredited.  Her 
husband  is  the  one  who  was  speaking  to  you.” 

“Can  you  get  anything  about  the  family?" 

“They  have  been  in  this  country  for  some  time,  and 
they  are  Loyalists.” 

Benedict  Arnold’s  Friend 


151 


“Why  is  the  woman  up  there  in  the  attic  and  not 
down  here  in  the  rest  of  the  house?” 

"She  comes  down,  but  she  stays  above,  for  she  passed 
there.” 

“Do  you  get  her  name?” 

“Elsa,  or  Elva.” 

“Is  she  willing  to  speak  to  us?” 

"I  can  try,  but  she  is  a belligerent  person.  You  see, 
she  keeps  reliving  her  last  days  on  earth,  and  then  the 
hauntings  in  her  own  house,  while  her  husband  and  daugh- 
ter were  still  living  here.  Sometimes  they  clash  one  with  the 
other.” 

“What  about  the  other  woman?  Can  you  find  out 
anything  about  her? 

“I  can  describe  her,  but  I can’t  make  her  speak.  She 
has  dark  hair  parted  in  the  middle  and  an  oval  face,  and 
she  wears  a high-necked  dress  of  a dark  color.  Black  with 
long  sleeves,  I think.  However,  I feel  she  is  from  a later 
period.” 

“Why  is  she  earthbound  in  the  house?” 

"She  had  been  extremely  psychic  when  she  lived 
here,  and  she  has  been  bothered  by  these  other  ghosts  that 
were  here  before  her.  Her  name  was  Drew.  Perhaps 
Andrew,  although  I rather  think  Drew  was  the  family 
name.  She  died  in  this  house.  There  was  a man  who  went 
before  her.  A curse  had  been  put  on  her  by  a woman  who 
was  here  before  her.  It  was  a ghostly  kind  of  quarrel 
between  the  two  women.  One  was  angry  that  she  should  be 
here,  and  the  other  was  angry  because  she  owned  the  house 
and  found  it  invaded  by  those  unwanted  'guests,'  as  she 
called  them.” 

I asked  Albert  to  make  sure  that  the  house  was  now 
“clean”  and  to  bring  Ethel  back  to  her  own  self.  “I  will  not 
need  to  take  the  woman  by  the  hand,”  he  explained.  “She 
will  go  away  with  her  husband,  now  that  he  has  decided  to 
leave  for  fear  they  will  hang  him.”  With  that,  I thanked 
Albert  for  his  help,  and  Ethel  returned  to  herself  a few 
moments  later,  remembering  nothing  of  what  had  tran- 
spired, as  is  usual  with  her  when  she  is  in  deep  trance. 

We  had  not  yet  been  to  the  upper  part  of  the  house. 
Even  though  Ethel  would  normally  be  quite  tired  after  a 
trance  session,  I decided  to  have  a look  at  the  second  story 
and  the  attic.  Ethel  saw  a number  of  people  in  the  upper 
part  of  the  house,  both  presences  and  psychometric  impres- 
sions from  the  past.  I felt  reasonably  sure  that  the  dis- 
turbed gentleman  who  had  called  himself  Anthony  was 
gone  from  the  house,  as  was  his  daughter.  There  remained 
the  question  of  the  other  woman,  the  older  individual  who 
had  frightened  Mrs.  Connacher.  “I  see  what  looks  like  a 
small  boy,”  Ethel  suddenly  exclaimed  as  we  were  standing 
in  the  attic.  “I  rather  think  it  is  a woman,  a short  woman.” 

“Describe  her,  please.” 

"She  seems  to  wear  a funny  sort  of  white  cap.  Her 
outfit  is  pinkish  gray,  with  a white  handkerchief  over  her 

CHAPTER  FIVE:  Famous  Ghosts 


shoulders  going  down  into  her  belt.  She  looks  like  a girl 
and  is  very  small,  but  she  is  an  older  woman, 
nevertheless." 

En  route  to  another  house  at  Hudson,  New  York,  I 
asked  Gus  Kramer  to  comment.  "Benedict  Arnold  was 
brought  to  this  area  after  the  battle  of  Saratoga  to  recuper- 
ate for  one  or  two  nights,”  Kramer  explained,  and  I 
reminded  myself  that  General  Arnold,  long  before  he 
turned  traitor  to  the  American  cause,  had  been  a very  suc- 
cessful field  commander  and  administrative  officer  on  the 
side  of  the  Revolution.  “He  spent  the  night  in  the  Kinder  - 
hook  area,”  Gus  continued.  “The  location  of  the  house 
itself  is  not  definitely  known,  but  it  is  known  that  he  spent 
the  night  here.  Horatio  Gates,  who  was  the  American 
leader  in  the  battle  of  Saratoga,  also  spent  several  nights  in 
the  immediate  area.  It  is  not  inconceivable  that  this  place, 
which  was  a mansion  in  those  days,  might  have  entertained 
these  men  at  the  time." 

“What  about  the  hanging?” 

“Seven  Tories  were  hanged  in  this  area  during  the 
Revolutionary  War.  Some  of  the  greatest  fighting  took 
place  here,  and  it  is  quite  conceivable  that  something  took 
place  at  this  old  mansion.  Again,  it  completely  bears  out 
what  Mrs.  Meyers  spoke  of  while  in  trance.” 

I asked  Gus  to  pinpoint  the  period  for  me.  “This 
would  have  been  in  1777,  toward  October  and  November." 

“What  about  that  cold  spot  in  the  house?” 

"Outside  of  the  owner,”  Gus  replied,  “there  was  an 
artist  named  Stanley  Bate,  who  visited  the  house  and  com- 
plained about  an  unusually  cold  spot.  There  was  one  par- 
ticular room  that  was  known  as  the  Sick  Room;  we  have 
found  out  from  a later  investigation  that  it  is  one  of  the 
bedrooms  upstairs.  It  was  used  for  mortally  sick  people, 
when  they  became  so  ill  that  they  had  to  be  brought  to  this 
bedroom,  and  eventually  several  of  them  died  in  it.  You 
couldn’t  notice  it  today,  because  the  whole  house  was  so 
cold,  but  we  have  noticed  a difference  of  at  least  twenty- 
five  to  thirty  degrees  in  the  temperature  between  that  room 
and  the  surrounding  part  of  the  house.  This  cannot  be 
attributed  to  drafts  or  open  windows.” 

“Did  your  artist  friend  who  visited  the  house  experi- 
ence anything  else  besides  the  cold  spot?” 

"Yes,  he  had  a very  vivid  impression  of  someone 
charging  at  him  several  times.  There  was  a distinct  tugging 
on  his  shirt  sleeve.  This  was  about  two  years  ago,  and 
though  he  knew  that  the  house  was  haunted,  he  had  not 
heard  about  the  apparition  Mrs.  Connacher  had  seen.” 

It  appeared  to  me  that  the  entity,  Anthony,  or  what- 
ever his  name  might  have  been,  had  pretty  good  connec- 
tions on  both  sides  of  the  Revolutionary  War.  He  was  in 
trouble,  that  much  was  clear.  In  his  difficulty,  he  turned  to 
Benedict  Arnold,  and  he  turned  to  General  Horatio  Gates, 
both  American  leaders.  He  also  cried  out  to  John  to  save 
him,  and  I can’t  help  wondering,  common  though  the 
name  is,  whether  he  might  not  also  have  known  major 
John  Andre. 


152 


» 17  

The  Haverstraw  Ferry  Case 

HAVERSTRAW  IS  A SLEEPY  little  town  about  an  hour’s  ride 
from  New  York  City,  perched  high  on  the  west  side  of  the 
Hudson  River.  As  its  name  implies,  it  was  originally  set- 
tled by  the  Dutch.  On  the  other  side  of  the  river,  not  far 
away,  was  Colonel  Beverley  Robinson’s  house,  where  Bene- 
dict Arnold  made  his  headquarters.  The  house  burned 
down  some  years  ago,  and  today  there  are  only  a few 
charred  remnants  to  be  seen  on  the  grounds.  At  Haver- 
straw also  was  the  house  of  Joshua  Smith,  the  man  who 
helped  Major  John  Andre  escape,  having  been  entrusted 
with  the  British  spy’s  care  by  his  friend,  Benedict  Arnold. 
At  Haverstraw,  too,  was  one  of  the  major  ferries  to  cross 
the  Hudson  River,  for  during  the  Revolutionary  period 
there  were  as  yet  no  bridges  to  go  from  one  side  to  the 
other. 

I had  never  given  Haverstraw  any  particular  thought, 
although  I had  passed  through  it  many  times  on  my  way 
upstate.  In  August  1966  I received  a letter  from  a gentle- 
man named  Jonathan  Davis,  who  had  read  some  of  my 
books  and  wanted  to  let  me  in  on  an  interesting  case  he 
thought  worthy  of  investigation.  The  house  in  question 
stands  directly  on  the  river,  overlooking  the  Hudson  and, 
as  he  put  it,  practically  in  the  shadow  of  High  Tor.  Includ- 
ing the  basement  there  are  four  floors  in  all.  But  rather 
than  give  me  the  information  secondhand,  he  suggested  to 
the  owner,  a friend,  that  she  communicate  with  me 
directly.  The  owner  turned  out  to  be  Laurette  Brown,  an 
editor  of  a national  women’s  magazine  in  New  York  City. 

“I  believe  my  house  is  haunted  by  one  or  possibly 
two  ghosts:  a beautiful  thirty -year-old  woman  and  her  two- 
year-old  daughter,  ’ she  explained.  Miss  Brown  had  shared 
the  house  with  another  career  woman,  Kaye  S.,  since  Octo- 
ber 1965.  Kaye,  a lovely  blonde  woman  who  came  from  a 
prominent  family,  was  extremely  intelligent  and  very  cre- 
ative. She  adored  the  house  overlooking  the  river,  which 
the  two  women  had  bought  on  her  instigation.  Strangely, 
though,  Kaye  frequently  said  she  would  never  leave  it 
again  alive.  A short  a time  later,  allegedly  because  of  an 
unhappy  love  affair,  she  drove  her  car  to  Newburgh,  rigged 
up  the  exhaust  pipe,  and  committed  suicide  along  with  the 
child  she  had  had  by  her  second  husband. 

“After  she  died,  and  I lived  here  alone,  I was  terribly 
conscious  of  a spirit  trying  to  communicate  with  me,”  Miss 
Brown  explained.  "There  was  a presence,  there  were  unnat- 
ural bangings  of  doors  and  mysterious  noises,  but  I denied 
them.  At  the  time,  I wanted  no  part  of  the  so-called  super- 
natural. Since  then,  Miss  Brown  has  had  second  thoughts 
about  the  matter,  especially  as  the  phenomena  continued. 
She  began  to  wonder  whether  the  restless  spirit  wanted 
something  from  her,  whether  there  was  something  she 
could  do  for  the  spirit.  One  day,  her  friend  Jonathan  Davis 
was  visiting  and  mentioned  that  he  very  much  wanted  the 


red  rug  on  which  he  was  standing  at  the  time  and  which 
had  belonged  to  Kaye.  Before  Miss  Brown  could  answer 
him,  Davis  had  the  chilling  sensation  of  a presence  and  the 
impression  that  a spirit  was  saying  to  him,  "No,  you  may 
not  take  my  rug.” 

“Since  that  time,  I have  also  heard  footsteps,  and  the 
crying  of  a child.  Lately,  I wake  up,  out  of  a deep  sleep, 
around  midnight  or  2 A.M.,  under  the  impression  that 
someone  is  trying  to  reach  me.  This  has  never  happened  to 
me  before.” 

Miss  Brown  then  invited  me  to  come  out  and  investi- 
gate the  matter.  I spoke  to  Jonathan  Davis  and  asked  him 
to  come  along  on  the  day  when  my  medium  and  I would 
pay  the  house  a visit.  Davis  contributed  additional  infor- 
mation. According  to  him,  on  the  night  of  August  6,  1966, 
when  Miss  Brown  had  awakened  from  deep  sleep  with  par- 
ticularly disturbed  thoughts,  she  had  gone  out  on  the  bal- 
cony overlooking  the  Hudson  River.  At  the  same  time,  she 
mixed  herself  a stiff  drink  to  calm  her  nerves.  As  she  stood 
on  the  balcony  with  her  drink  in  hand,  she  suddenly  felt 
another  presence  with  her,  and  she  knew  at  that  instant, 
had  she  looked  to  the  right,  she  would  have  seen  a person. 
She  quickly  gulped  down  her  drink  and  went  back  to  sleep. 
She  remembered,  as  Mr.  Davis  pointed  out,  that  her  for- 
mer housemate  had  strongly  disapproved  of  her  drinking. 

“It  may  interest  you  to  know,”  Miss  Brown  said, 

“that  the  hills  around  High  Tor  Mountain,  which  are  so 
near  to  our  house,  are  reputed  to  be  inhabited  by  a race  of 
dwarves  that  come  down  from  the  mountains  at  night  and 
work  such  mischief  as  moving  road  signs,  et  cetera.  That 
there  is  some  feeling  of  specialness,  even  enchantment, 
about  this  entire  area,  Kaye  always  felt,  and  I believe  that 
if  spirits  can  roam  the  earth,  hers  is  here  at  the  house  she 
so  loved.” 

The  story  sounded  interesting  enough,  even  though  I 
did  not  take  Miss  Brown's  testimony  at  face  value.  As  is 
always  the  case  when  a witness  has  preconceived  notions 
about  the  origin  of  a psychic  disturbance,  I assume  nothing 
until  I have  investigated  the  case  myself.  Miss  Brown  had 
said  nothing  about  the  background  of  the  house.  From  my 
knowledge  of  the  area,  I knew  that  there  were  many  old 
houses  still  standing  on  the  river  front. 

Ethel  Johnson  Meyers  was  my  medium,  and  Cather- 
ine, my  wife,  drove  the  car,  as  on  so  many  other  occasions. 
My  wife,  who  had  by  then  become  extremely  interested  in 
the  subject,  helped  me  with  the  tape  recording  equipment 
and  the  photography.  Riverside  Avenue  runs  along  the 
river  but  is  a little  hard  to  locate  if  you  don’t  know  your 
way  around  Haverstraw.  The  medium-size  house  turned 
out  to  be  quite  charming,  perched  directly  on  the  water’s 
edge.  Access  to  it  was  now  from  the  street  side,  although  I 
felt  pretty  sure  that  the  main  entrance  had  been  either  from 
around  the  corner  or  from  the  water  itself.  From  the  looks 


The  Haverstraw  Ferry  Case 


153 


of  the  house,  it  was  immediately  clear  to  me  that  we  were 
dealing  with  a pre-Revolutionary  building. 

Miss  Brown  let  us  into  a long  verandah  running 
alongside  the  house,  overlooking  the  water.  Adjacent  to  it 
was  the  living  room,  artistically  furnished  and  filled  with 
antiquities,  rugs,  and  pillows.  Mr.  Davis  could  not  make  it 
after  all,  owing  to  some  unexpected  business  in  the  city. 

Ethel  Meyers  sat  down  in  a comfortable  chair  in  the 
corner  of  the  living  room,  taking  in  the  appointments  with 
the  eye  of  a woman  who  had  furnished  her  own  home  not 
so  long  before.  She  knew  nothing  about  the  case  or  the 
nature  of  our  business  here. 

“I  see  three  men  and  a woman,"  she  began.  “The 
woman  has  a big  nose  and  is  on  the  older  side;  one  of  the 
men  has  a high  forehead;  and  then  there  is  a man  with  a 
smallish  kind  of  nose,  a round  face,  and  long  hair.  This 
goes  back  some  time,  though.” 

“Do  you  feel  an  actual  presence  in  this  house?” 

"I  feel  as  if  someone  is  looking  at  me  from  the  back,” 
Ethel  replied.  "It  might  be  a woman.  I have  a sense  of  dis- 
turbance. I feel  as  if  I wanted  to  run  away — I’m  now 
speaking  as  if  I were  her,  you  understand — I’m  looking  for 
the  moment  to  run,  to  get  away.” 

Ethel  took  a deep  breath  and  looked  toward  the 
verandah,  and  beyond  it  to  the  other  side  of  the  Hudson 
River.  “Somebody  stays  here  who  keeps  looking  out  a win- 
dow to  see  if  anyone  is  coming.  I can’t  seem  to  find  the 
window.  There  is  a feeling  of  panic.  It  feels  as  if  I were 
afraid  of  somebody’s  coming.  A woman  and  two  men  are 
involved.  I feel  I want  to  protect  someone.” 

“Let  the  individual  take  over,  then,  Ethel,”  I sug- 
gested, hoping  that  trance  would  give  us  further  clues. 

But  Ethel  wasn’t  quite  ready  for  it.  “I’ve  got  to  find 
that  window,”  she  said.  “She  is  full  of  determination  to 
find  that  window.” 

“Why  is  the  window  so  important  to  her?” 

“She  wants  to  know  if  someone  is  coming.  She’s  got 
to  look  out  the  window.” 

I instructed  Ethel  to  tell  the  spirit  that  we  would  look 
for  the  window,  and  to  be  calm.  But  to  the  contrary,  Ethel 
seemed  more  and  more  agitated.  “Got  to  go  to  the  win- 
dow. . .the  window. . .the  window.  The  window  isn’t  here 
anymore,  but  I’ve  got  to  find  it.  Who  took  away  the. . . . 

No,  it  is  not  here.  It  is  not  this  way.  It  is  that  way.”  By 
now  Ethel  was  gradually  sinking  into  trance,  although  by 
no  means  a complete  one.  At  certain  moments  she  was  still 
speaking  as  herself,  giving  us  her  clairvoyant  impressions, 
while  at  other  moments  some  alien  entity  was  already 
speaking  through  her  directly. 

“Very  sick  here,  very  sick,”  she  said,  her  words  fol- 
lowed by  deep  moaning.  For  several  minutes  I spoke  to  the 
entity  directly,  explaining  that  whatever  he  was  now  expe- 
riencing was  only  the  passing  symptoms  remembered  and 
had  no  validity  in  the  present. 


The  moaning,  however,  continued  for  some  time.  I 
assured  the  entity  that  he  could  speak  to  me  directly,  and 
that  there  was  nothing  to  be  afraid  of,  for  we  had  come  as 
friends. 

Gradually,  the  moaning  became  quieter,  and  individ- 
ual words  could  be  understood.  “What  for?  What  for?  The 
other  house. . . ” This  was  immediately  followed  by  a series 
of  moans.  I asked  who  the  person  was  and  why  he  was 
here,  as  is  my  custom.  Why  are  you  bringing  him  here?” 
the  entranced  medium  said.  That  man,  that  man,  why  are 
you  bringing  him  here?  Why?  Why?”  This  was  followed 
by  heavy  tears. 

As  soon  as  I could  calm  the  medium  again,  the  con- 
versation continued.  “What  troubles  you?  What  is  your 
problem?  I would  like  to  help  you,”  I said. 

“Talk,  talk,  talk. . .too  many. . .too  many.” 

“Be  calm,  please.” 

“No!  Take  him  away!  I can’t  tell.  They  have  left. 
Don’t  touch  me!  Take  it  away!  Why  hurt  me  so?” 

“It’s  all  right  now;  much  has  happened  since,”  I 
began. 

Heavy  tears  was  the  response.  “They  went  away. 
Don’t  bother  me!  They  have  gone.  Don’t  touch!  Take  him 
away!  Take  them  off  my  neck!” 

“It’s  all  right,”  I said  again,  in  as  soothing  a tone  of 
voice  as  I could  muster.  “You  are  free.  You  need  not  worry 
or  fear  anything.” 

Ethel’s  voice  degenerated  into  a mumble  now.  “Can’t 
talk. . .so  tired. . .go  away.” 

“You  may  talk  freely  about  yourself.” 

“I'll  tell  you  when  they’ve  gone.  I didn’t  help. ...  I 
didn’t  help. ...  I didn’t  know.” 

“Who  are  the  people  you  are  talking  about?” 

“I  don’t  know.  They  took  it  over.” 

“Tell  me  what  happened.” 

“They  went  away  over  the  water.  Please  take  this  off 
so  I can  talk  better.” 

Evidently,  the  entity  thought  that  he  was  still  gagged 
or  otherwise  prevented  from  speaking  clearly.  In  order  to 
accommodate  him,  I told  him  I was  taking  off  whatever 
was  bothering  him,  and  he  could  speak  freely  and  clearly 
now.  Immediately,  there  was  a moaning  sound,  more  of 
relief  than  of  pain.  But  the  entity  would  not  believe  that  I 
had  taken  “it”  off  and  called  me  a liar  instead.  I tried  to 
explain  that  he  was  feeling  a memory  from  the  past,  but  he 
did  not  understand  that.  Eventually  he  relented. 

“What  is  your  name?”  I asked. 

“You  know,  you  know.”  Evidently  he  had  mistaken 
me  for  someone  else.  I assured  him  that  I did  not  know  his 
name. 

“You  are  a bloody  rich  man,  that  is  what  you  are,” 
he  said,  not  too  nicely.  Again,  he  remembered  whatever 
was  preventing  him  from  speaking,  and,  clutching  his 
throat,  cried,  “I  can’t  speak... the  throat...”  Then,  sud- 
denly, he  realized  there  was  no  more  pain  and  calmed 


CHAPTER  FIVE:  Famous  Ghosts 
154 


down  considerably.  "I  didn’t  have  that  trouble  after  all,”  he 
commented. 

"Exactly.  That  is  why  we’ve  come  to  help  you.” 

“Enough  trouble — I saw  them  come  up,  but  they 
went  away.” 

All  along  I had  assumed  that  we  were  talking  to  a 
male.  Since  the  entity  was  using  Ethel's  voice,  there  were 
of  course  some  female  tinges  to  it,  but  somehow  it  sounded 
more  like  a masculine  voice  than  that  of  a woman.  But  it 
occurred  to  me  that  I had  no  proof  one  way  or  another. 

“What  is  your  name?  Are  you  a gentleman  or. . . ” 

"Defenseless  woman.  Defenseless.  I didn’t  take  any- 
one. But  you  won’t  believe  me.” 

I assured  her  that  I would. 

“You  won’t  believe  me. . . . It  was  dark.  It  was  dark 
here — I told  him,  take  care  of  me.” 

“Is  this  your  house?” 

“Yes.” 

“What  is  your  name?” 

“My  name  is  Jenny.” 

“Why  are  you  here?” 

“Where  is  my  window?  Where  is  it?" 

I ignored  the  urgency  of  that  remark  and  continued 
with  my  questioning.  “What  is  your  family  name?” 

“Smith... Smith." 

"Where  and  when  were  you  born?” 

There  was  no  reply. 

“What  day  is  this  today?”  I continued. 

“July.” 

"What  year  are  we  in?” 

"’80.” 

“What  went  on  in  this  house?  Tell  me  about  it.” 

“They  brought  him  here.  They  came  here.”  Evi- 
dently the  woman  wasn’t  too  happy  about  what  she  was 
about  to  tell  me. 

“Whose  house  is  this?” 

“Joshua.  Joshua  Smith.” 

“How  is  he  related  to  you?” 

“Husband.  They  brought  him. . . . I told  them,  tell 
them!  No. . .no  one  was  coming.  That  is  all  I told  them.  I 
don’t  know  why  they  hurt  me.” 

“You  mean,  they  thought  you  knew  something?” 

“Yah. . .my  friends.  All  that  noise.  Why  don’t  they 
stop?  Oh,  God,  I feel  pain.  They  got  away.  I told  you  they 
got  away.” 

“Who  are  the  people  you  fear?” 

“Guns — I must  look  in  the  window.  They  are  com- 
ing. All  is  clear. . .time  to  go. . .they  get  away. . .they  got 
away. . . . See,  look,  they  got  away.  It  is  dark.  They  are  near 
the  water.  I get  the  money  for  it.” 

“What  is  the  money  for?” 

“For  helping.” 

At  the  time,  I hadn’t  fully  realized  the  identity  of  the 
speaker.  I therefore  continued  the  interrogation  in  the  hope 
of  ferreting  out  still  more  evidential  material  from  her. 
“Who  is  in  charge  of  this  country?” 


“George. . .George. . .nobody. . .everybody  is  fighting." 

“Where  were  you  born?” 

“Here.” 

“Where  was  your  husband  born?” 

Instead  of  answering  the  question,  she  seemed  to  say, 
faintly,  but  unmistakably,  “Andre.” 

“Who  is  Andre?” 

“He  got  away.  God  Bless  His  Majesty.  He  got  away.” 

“You  must  go  in  peace  from  this  house,”  I began, 
feeling  that  the  time  had  come  to  free  the  spirit  from  its 
compulsion.  “Go  in  peace  and  never  return  here,  because 
much  time  has  gone  on  since,  and  all  is  peaceful  now.  You 
mustn’t  come  back.  You  mustn’t  come  back.” 

“They  will  come  back.” 

“Nobody  will  come.  It  all  happened  a long  time  ago. 
Go  away  from  here.” 

“Johnny. . .Johnny.” 

"You  are  free,  you  are  free.  You  can  go  from  this 
house.” 

“Suckers ...  bloody  suckers They  are  coming,  they 

are  coming  now.  I can  see  them.  I can  see  them!  God  Bless 
the  Majesty.  They  got  away,  they  got  away!” 

It  was  clear  that  Jenny  was  reliving  the  most  dramatic 
moment  of  her  life.  Ethel,  fully  entranced  now,  sat  up  in 
the  chair,  eyes  glazed,  peering  into  the  distance,  as  if  she 
were  following  the  movements  of  people  we  could  not  see! 

“There  is  the  horse,”  the  spirit  continued.  “Quick, 
get  the  horse!  I am  a loyal  citizen.  Good  to  the  Crown. 
They  got  away.  Where  is  my  window?”  Suddenly,  the 
entity  realized  that  everything  wasn’t  as  it  should  be.  An 
expression  of  utter  confusion  crept  over  Ethel’s  face. 
“Where  am  I,  where  am  I?” 

“You  are  in  a house  that  now  belongs  to  someone 
else,”  I explained. 

“Where  is  that  window?  I don’t  know  where  I am.” 

I continued  to  direct  her  away  from  the  house,  sug- 
gesting that  she  leave  in  peace  and  go  with  our  blessings. 
But  the  entity  was  not  quite  ready  for  that  yet.  She  would- 
n’t go  out  the  window,  either.  “The  soldiers  are  there.” 

“Only  in  your  memory,”  I assured  her,  but  she  con- 
tinued to  be  very  agitated." 

“Gone. . .a  rope. . . . My  name  is  Jenny. . . . Save  me, 
save  me!” 

At  this  point,  I asked  Albert  to  help  free  the  entity, 
who  was  obviously  tremendously  embroiled  in  her  emo- 
tional memories.  My  appeal  worked.  A moment  later, 
Albert’s  crisp,  matter-of-fact  voice  broke  through.  “We 
have  taken  the  entity  who  was  lost  in  space  and  time,”  he 
commented. 

If  ever  there  was  proof  that  a good  trance  medium 
does  not  draw  upon  the  unconscious  minds  of  the  sitters — 
that  is  to  say,  those  in  the  room  with  her — then  this  was  it. 
Despite  the  fact  that  several  names  had  come  through 
Ethel’s  entranced  lips,  I must  confess  they  did  not  ring  a 


The  Haverstraw  Ferry  Case 

155 


bell  with  me.  This  is  the  more  amazing  as  I am  historian 
and  should  have  recognized  the  name  Joshua  Smith.  But 
the  fact  is,  in  the  excitement  of  the  investigation,  I did  not, 
and  I continued  to  press  for  better  identification  and  back- 
ground. In  fact,  I did  not  even  connect  John  with  Andre 
and  continued  to  ask  who  John  was.  Had  we  come  to  the 
house  with  some  knowledge  that  a Revolutionary  escape 
had  taken  place  here,  one  might  conceivably  attribute  the 
medium’s  tremendous  performance  to  unconscious  or  even 
conscious  knowledge  of  what  had  occurred  in  the  place.  As 
it  was,  however,  we  had  come  because  of  a suspected  ghost 
created  only  a few  years  ago — a ghost  that  had  not  the 
slightest  connection  with  pre-Revolutionary  America.  No 
one,  including  the  owner  of  the  house,  had  said  anything 
about  any  historical  connotations  of  the  house.  Yet,  instead 
of  coming  up  with  the  suspected  restless  girl  who  had  com- 
mitted suicide,  Mrs.  Meyers  went  back  into  the  eighteenth 
century  and  gave  us  authentic  information — information  I 
am  sure  she  did  not  possess  at  the  time,  since  she  is  neither 
a scholar  specializing  in  pre-Revolutionary  Americana  nor 
familiar  with  the  locality  or  local  history. 

When  Albert  took  over  the  body  of  the  instrument,  I 
was  still  in  the  dark  about  the  connections  between  this 
woman  and  Smith  and  Andre.  “Albert,"  I therefore  asked 
with  some  curiosity,  "who  is  this  entity?” 

“There  are  three  people  here,”  Albert  began.  “One  is 
gone  on  horseback,  and  one  went  across.  They  came  here 
to  escape  because  they  were  surrounded.  One  of  them  was 
Major  Andre.” 

“The  historical  Major  Andre?”  1 asked  incredulously. 

“Yes,”  Albert  replied.  “They  took  asylum  here  until 
the  coast  was  clear,  but  as  you  may  well  know,  Andre  did 
not  get  very  far,  and  Arnold  escaped  across  the  water.” 

“What  about  the  woman?  Is  her  real  name  Smith?” 

“Yes,  but  she  is  not  related  to  Joshua  Smith.  She  is  a 
woman  in  charge  of  properties,  living  here.” 

“Why  does  she  give  the  name  Jenny  Smith?” 

“She  was  thinking  more  of  her  employer  than  of  her- 
self. She  worked  for  Joshua  Smith,  and  her  name  was 
Jennifer.” 

“I  see,”  I said,  trying  to  sort  things  out.  “Have  you 
been  able  help  her?” 

"Yes,  she  is  out  of  a vacuum  now,  thanks  to  you.  We 
will  of  course  have  to  watch  her  until  she  makes  up  her 
mind  that  it  is  not  1780.” 

“Are  there  any  others  here  in  the  house?”  I asked. 

“There  are  others.  The  Tories  were  always  protected 
around  this  neck  of  the  woods,  and  when  there  was  an 
escape,  it  was  usually  through  here.” 

“Are  all  the  disturbances  in  this  house  dating  back  to 
the  period?" 

“No,  there  are  later  disturbances  here  right  on  top  of 
old  disturbances.” 

“What  is  the  most  recent  disturbance  in  this  house?” 

CHAPTER  FIVE:  Famous  Ghosts 


“A  woman  and  a child.” 

Immediately  this  rang  a bell.  It  would  have  been 
strange  if  the  medium  had  not  also  felt  the  most  recent 
emotional  event  in  this  house,  that  involving  a woman  and 
a child.  According  to  Jonathan  Davis,  Mrs.  Brown  had 
heard  the  sound  of  a child  in  a room  that  was  once  used  as 
a nursery.  Even  her  young  daughter,  then  age  five,  had 
heard  the  sounds  and  been  frightened  by  them.  But  what 
about  the  woman? 

“The  woman  became  very  disturbed  because  of  the 
entity  you  have  just  released,”  Albert  responded.  “In  fact, 
she  had  been  taken  over.  This  was  not  too  long  ago.” 

“What  happened  to  her?” 

“She  became  possessed  by  the  first  woman,  Jennifer, 
and  as  a result  felt  very  miserable.” 

“Am  I correct  in  assuming  that  Jennifer,  the  colonial 
woman,  was  hanged?” 

“That  is  right.” 

“And  am  I further  correct  in  assuming  that  the  more 
recent  woman  took  on  the  symptoms  of  the  unfortunate 
Jennifer?” 

“That  is  right,  too.” 

“I  gather  Jennifer  died  in  this  house.  How?” 

“Strangulation.” 

“What  about  the  more  recent  case?  How  did  she 

die?” 

“Her  inner  self  was  tortured.  She  lost  her  breath.  She 
was  badly  treated  by  men  who  did  not  understand  her 
aberration,  the  result  of  her  possession  by  the  first  spirit  in 
the  house.  Thus,  she  committed  suicide.  It  was  poison  or 
strangulation  or  both,  I am  not  sure.” 

“Do  you  still  sense  her  in  the  house  now?” 

“Yes.  She  is  always  following  people  around.  She  is 
here  all  right,  but  we  did  not  let  her  use  the  instrument, 
because  she  could  stay  on,  you  know.  However,  we  have 
her  here,  under  control.  She  is  absolutely  demented  now. 

At  the  time  she  committed  suicide,  she  was  possessed  by 
this  woman,  but  we  cannot  let  her  speak  because  she  would 
possess  the  instrument.  Wait  a moment.  All  right,  thank 
you,  they  have  taken  her.”  Evidently,  Albert  had  been 
given  the  latest  word  by  his  helpers  on  the  other  side.  It 
appeared  that  Kaye  was  in  safe  hands,  after  all. 

“Is  there  any  connection  between  this  woman  and  the 
present  occupants  of  the  house?”  I asked. 

“Yes,  but  there  will  be  no  harm.  She  was  not  in  the 
right  mind  when  she  died,  and  she  is  not  yet  at  rest.  I’m 
sure  she  would  want  to  make  it  clear  that  she  was  pos- 
sessed and  did  not  act  as  herself.  Her  suicide  was  not  of 
her  own  choosing.  I aim  repeating  words  I am  being  told:  it 
was  not  of  her  own  volition.  She  suffered  terribly  from  the 
possession,  because  the  colonial  woman  had  been  beaten 
and  strangled  by  soldiers.” 

"Before  you  withdraw,  Albert,  can  we  be  reasonably 
sure  that  the  house  will  be  quiet  from  now  on?” 

"Yes.  We  will  do  our  best.” 


156 


With  that,  Albert  withdrew,  and  Ethel  returned  to 
her  own  self,  seemingly  a bit  puzzled  at  first  as  to  where 
she  was,  rubbing  her  eyes,  yawning  a couple  of  times,  then 
settling  back  into  the  comfortable  chair  and  waiting  for  me 
to  ask  further  questions,  if  any.  But  for  the  moment  I had 
questions  only  for  the  owner  of  the  house.  “How  old  is  this 
house,  and  what  was  on  the  spot  before  it  was  built?” 

“It  is  at  least  a hundred  years  old,  and  I remember 
someone  telling  me  that  something  happened  down  here  on 
this  spot,  something  historical,  like  an  escape.  There  were 
soldiers  here  during  the  Revolutionary  War,  but  I really 
don’t  know  exactly  what  happened.” 

It  is  important  to  point  out  that  even  Miss  Brown, 
who  had  lived  in  the  area  for  some  time,  was  not  aware  of 
the  full  background  of  her  house.  The  house,  in  fact,  was 
far  more  than  a hundred  years  old.  It  stood  already  in  Sep- 
tember 1780,  when  Major  John  Andre  had  visited  it.  At 
that  time,  there  was  a ferry  below  the  house  that  connected 
with  the  opposite  shore,  and  the  house  itself  belonged  to 
Joshua  Smith,  a good  friend  of  General  Benedict  Arnold.  It 
was  to  Joshua  Smith  that  Arnold  had  entrusted  the  escape 
of  Major  Andre.  Everything  Ethel  had  said  was  absolutely 
true.  Three  people  had  tried  to  escape:  Andre,  a servant, 
and,  of  course,  General  Arnold,  who  succeeded.  Smith  was 
a Loyalist  and  considered  his  help  a matter  of  duty.  To  the 
American  Army  he  was  a traitor.  Even  though  Andre  was 
later  captured,  the  Revolutionary  forces  bore  down  heavily 
on  Smith  and  his  property.  Beating  people  to  death  in 
order  to  elicit  information  was  a favorite  form  of  treatment 
used  in  the  eighteenth  century  by  both  the  British  and  the 
American  armies.  Undoubtedly,  Jennifer  had  been  the  vic- 
tim of  Revolutionary  soldiers,  and  Kaye,  perhaps  psychic 
herself,  the  victim  of  Jennifer. 

Ethel  Meyers  had  once  again  shown  what  a superb 
medium  she  is.  But  there  were  still  some  points  to  be 
cleared  up. 

“How  long  have  you  had  the  house  now,  Miss 
Brown?”  I asked. 

“A  year  and  a half.  Kaye’s  suicide  took  place  after  we 
had  been  here  for  two  months.  We  had  bought  the  house 
together.  She  had  been  extremely  upset  because  her  hus- 
band was  going  to  cut  off  his  support.  Also,  he  had 
announced  a visit,  and  she  didn’t  want  to  see  him.  So  she 
took  off  on  a Sunday  with  her  child,  and  in  Newburgh  she 
committed  suicide  along  with  the  child.  They  didn’t  find 
her  until  Thursday.” 

“After  her  death,  what  unusual  things  did  you  expe- 
rience in  the  house?” 


“I  always  felt  that  someone  was  trying  to  communi- 
cate with  me,  and  I was  fleeing  from  it  in  terror.  I still  feel 
her  presence  here,  but  now  I want  it  to  be  here.  She  always 
said  that  she  wanted  to  stay  here,  that  she  loved  this  river 
bank.  We  both  agreed  that  she  would  always  stay  here. 
When  I heard  all  sorts  of  strange  noises  after  her  death, 
such  as  doors  closing  by  themselves  and  footsteps  where  no 
one  could  be  seen  walking,  I went  into  an  alcoholic  obliv- 
ion and  on  a sleeping-pill  binge,  because  I was  so  afraid. 

At  the  time,  I just  didn't  want  to  communicate.” 

“Prior  to  these  events,  did  you  have  any  psychic 
experiences?” 

“I  had  many  intuitive  things  happen  to  me,  such  as 
knowing  things  before  they  happened.  I would  know  when 
someone  was  dead  before  I got  the  message;  for  instance, 
prior  to  your  coming,  I had  heard  noises  almost  every 
night  and  felt  the  presence  of  people.  My  little  girl  says 
there  is  a little  Susan  upstairs,  and  sometimes  I too  hear 
her  cry.  I hear  her  call  and  the  way  she  walks  up  and  down 
the  stairs.” 

“Did  you  ever  think  that  some  of  this  might  come 
from  an  earlier  period?” 

“No,  I never  thought  of  that.” 

“Was  Kaye  the  kind  of  person  who  might  commit 
suicide?” 

“Certainly  not.  It  would  be  completely  out  of  charac- 
ter for  her.  She  used  to  say,  there  was  always  a way,  no 
matter  what  the  problem,  no  matter  what  the  trouble.  She 
was  very  optimistic,  very  reliable,  very  resourceful.  And 
she  considered  challenges  and  problems  things  one  had  to 
surmount.  After  her  death,  I looked  through  the  mail, 
through  all  her  belongings.  My  first  impression  was  that 
she  had  been  murdered,  because  it  was  so  completely  out 
of  character  for  her.  I even  talked  to  the  police  about  it. 
Their  investigation  was  in  my  opinion  not  thorough 
enough.  They  never  looked  into  the  matter  of  where  she 
had  spent  the  four  days  and  four  nights  between  Sunday 
and  Thursday,  before  she  was  found.  But  I was  so  broken 
up  about  it  myself,  I wasn’t  capable  of  conducting  an 
investigation  of  my  own.  For  a while  I even  suspected  her 
husband  of  having  killed  her.” 

“But  now  we  know,  don't  we,”  I said. 

The  ferry  at  Haverstraw  hasn't  run  in  a long,  long 
time.  The  house  on  Riverside  Avenue  still  stands,  quieter 
than  it  used  to  be,  and  it  is  keeping  its  secrets  locked  up 
tight  now.  The  British  and  the  Americans  have  been  fast 
friends  for  a long  time  now,  and  the  passions  of  1780 
belong  to  history. 


The  Haverstraw  Ferry  Case 

157 


* 18 

“Ship  of  Destiny”: 

The  U.  S.  F.  Constellation 

The  DARK  Buick  RACED  through  the  windy  night,  turn- 
ing corners  rather  more  sharply  than  it  should:  But  the 
expedition  was  an  hour  late,  and  there  were  important  peo- 
ple awaiting  our  arrival.  It  was  9 o’clock  in  the  evening, 
and  at  that  time  Baltimore  is  pretty  tame:  Traffic  had 
dwindled  down  to  a mere  trickle,  and  the  chilly  October 
weather  probably  kept  many  pedestrians  indoors,  so  we 
managed  to  cross  town  at  a fast  clip. 

Jim  Lyons  had  come  to  pick  us  up  at  the  hotel  min- 
utes before,  and  the  three  committee  members  awaiting  us 
at  the  waterfront  had  been  there  since  8 o’clock.  But  I had 
arrived  late  from  Washington,  and  Sybil  Leek  had  only 
just  joined  us:  She  had  come  down  from  New  York  with- 
out the  slightest  idea  why  I had  summoned  her.  This 
was  all  good  sport  to  my  psychic  associate,  and  the  dark 
streets  which  we  now  left  behind  for  more  open  territory 
meant  nothing  to  her.  She  knew  this  was  Baltimore,  and 
a moment  later  she  realized  we  were  near  water:  You 
couldn’t  very  well  mistake  the  hulls  of  ships  silhouetted 
against  the  semidark  sky,  a sky  faintly  lit  by  the  reflections 
from  the  city’s  downtown  lights. 

The  car  came  to  a screeching  halt  at  the  end  of  a 
pier.  Despite  the  warmth  of  the  heater,  we  were  eager  to 
get  out  into  the  open.  The  excitement  of  the  adventure  was 
upon  us. 

As  we  piled  out  of  Jim  Lyons’  car,  we  noticed  three 
shivering  men  standing  in  front  of  a large,  dark  shape. 

That  shape,  on  close  inspection,  turned  out  to  be  the  hull 
of  a large  sailing  ship.  For  the  moment,  however,  we 
exchanged  greetings  and  explained  our  tardiness:  little  com- 
fort to  men  who  had  been  freezing  for  a full  hour! 

The  three  committee  members  were  Gordon  Stick, 
chairman  of  the  Constellation  restoration  committee,  Jean 
Hofmeister,  the  tall,  gaunt  harbormaster  of  Baltimore,  and 
Donald  Stewart,  the  curator  of  the  ancient  ship  and  a pro- 
fessional historian. 

Although  Sybil  realized  she  was  in  front  of  a large 
ship,  she  had  no  idea  of  what  sort  of  ship  it  was;  only  a 
single,  faint  bulb  inside  the  hull  cast  a little  light  on  the 
scene,  and  nobody  had  mentioned  anything  about  the  ship 
or  the  purpose  of  our  visit. 

There  was  no  superstructure  visible,  and  no  masts, 
and  suddenly  I remembered  that  Jim  Lyons  had  casually 
warned  me — the  old  ship  was  “in  repair”  and  not  its  true 
self  as  yet.  How  accurate  this  was  I began  to  realize  a 
moment  later  when  we  started  to  board  her.  I was  looking 
for  the  gangplank  or  stairway  to  enter. 


CHAPTER  FIVE:  Famous  Ghosts 


The  harbormaster  shook  his  head  with  a knowing 
smile. 

“I’m  afraid  you'll  have  to  rough  it,  Mr.  Holzer,”  he 

said. 

He  then  shone  his  miner’s  lamp  upon  the  black  hull. 
There  was  a rope  ladder  hanging  from  a plank  protruding 
from  the  deck.  Beyond  the  plank,  there  seemed  to  be  a 
dark,  gaping  hole,  which,  he  assured  me,  led  directly  into 
the  interior  of  the  ship.  The  trick  was  not  to  miss  it,  of 
course.  If  one  did,  there  was  a lot  of  water  below.  The  ship 
lay  about  two  yards  from  the  pier,  enough  room  to  drown, 
if  one  were  to  be  so  clumsy  as  to  fall  off  the  ladder  or  miss 
the  plank.  I looked  at  the  rope  ladder  swaying  in  the  cold 
October  wind,  felt  the  heavy  tape  recorder  tugging  at  my 
back  and  the  camera  around  my  neck,  and  said  to  myself, 
“Hans,  you’re  going  for  a bath.  How  do  I get  out  of  all 


Now  I’m  not  a coward  normally,  but  I hate  taking 
chances.  Right  now  I wished  I were  someplace  else.  Any- 
place except  on  this  chilly  pier  in  Baltimore.  While  I was 
still  wrestling  with  words  to  find  the  right  formula  that 
would  get  me  off  the  hook,  I saw  Sybil  Leek,  who  is  not  a 
small  woman,  hurry  up  that  rope  ladder  with  the  agility  of 
a mother  hen  rushing  home  to  the  coop  for  supper.  In  a 
second,  she  had  disappeared  into  the  hull  of  the  ship.  I 
swallowed  hard  and  painfully  and  said  to  myself,  if  Sybil 
can  do  it,  so  can  I.  Bravely,  I grabbed  the  ladder  and 
hauled  myself  up,  all  the  while  sending  thought  messages 
to  my  loved  ones,  just  in  case  I didn’t  make  it.  Step  by 
step,  farther  and  farther  away  from  firm  ground  I went.  I 
didn’t  dare  look  back,  for  if  I had  I am  sure  the  others 
would  have  looked  like  dwarfs  to  me  by  now.  Finally  I saw 
the  wooden  plank  sticking  out  of  the  hull,  and  like  a pirate- 
condemned  sailor  in  reverse  I walked  the  plank,  head 
down,  tape  recorder  banging  against  my  ribs,  camera  hit- 
ting my  eyeballs,  not  daring  to  stand  up  lest  I hit  the 
beams — until  I was  at  the  hole;  then,  going  down  on  my 
knees,  I half  crawled  into  the  hull  of  the  ship  where  I 
found  Sybil  whistling  to  herself,  presumably  a sailor’s  tune. 
At  least  I had  gotten  inside.  How  I would  eventually  get 
back  out  again  was  a subject  too  gruesome  to  consider  at 
that  moment.  It  might  well  be  that  I would  have  to  remain 
on  board  until  a gangplank  had  been  installed,  but  for  the 
moment  at  least  I was  safe  and  could  begin  to  feel  human 
again.  The  others  had  now  followed  us  up  the  ladder,  and 
everybody  was  ready  to  begin  the  adventure. 

There  was  just  enough  light  to  make  out  the  ancient 
beams  and  wooden  companionways,  bunks,  bulkheads,  and 
what  have  you:  A very  old  wooden  ship  lay  before  us,  in 
the  state  of  total  disrepair  with  its  innards  torn  open  and 
its  sides  exposed,  but  still  afloat  and  basically  sound  and 
strong.  Nothing  whatever  was  labeled  or  gave  away  the 
name  of  our  ship,  nor  were  there  any  dates  or  other  details 
as  the  restoration  had  not  yet  begun  in  earnest  and  only  the 


158 


The  U.  S.  F.  Constellation  as  she 
used  to  look 


outer  hull  had  been  secured  as  a first  step.  Sybil  had  no 
way  of  knowing  anything  about  the  ship,  except  that  which 
her  own  common  sense  told  her — a very  old  wooden  ship. 
For  that  reason,  I had  chosen  the  dark  of  night  for  our 
adventure  in  Baltimore,  and  I had  pledged  the  men  to  keep 
quiet  about  everything  until  we  had  completed  our 
investigation. 

* * * 

I first  heard  about  this  remarkable  ship,  the  frigate 
Constellation,  when  Jim  Lyons,  a TV  personality  in  Balti- 
more, wrote  to  me  and  asked  me  to  have  a psychic  look  at 
the  historic  ship.  There  had  been  reports  of  strange  hap- 
penings aboard,  and  there  were  a number  of  unresolved 
historical  questions  involving  the  ship.  Would  I come 
down  to  see  if  I could  unravel  some  of  those  ancient  mys- 
teries? The  frigate  was  built  in  1797,  the  first  man-of-war 
of  the  United  States.  As  late  as  World  War  II  she  was  still  in 
commission — something  no  other  ship  that  old  ever 
accomplished.  Whenever  Congress  passed  a bill  decommis- 
sioning the  old  relic,  something  happened  to  stay  its  hands: 
Patriotic  committees  sprang  up  and  raised  funds,  or  indi- 
viduals in  Washington  would  suddenly  come  to  the  rescue, 
and  the  scrappy  ship  stayed  out  of  the  scrapyard.  It  was  as 
if  something,  or  someone,  was  at  work,  refusing  to  let  the 
ship  die.  Perhaps  some  of  this  mystic  influence  rubbed  off 
on  President  Franklin  Roosevelt,  a man  who  was  interested 
in  psychic  research  as  was  his  mother,  Sarah  Delano  Roo- 
sevelt. At  any  rate,  when  the  Constellation  lay  forgotten  at 
Newport,  Rhode  Island,  and  the  voices  demanding  her 
demolition  were  louder  than  ever,  Roosevelt  reacted  as  if 
the  mysterious  power  aboard  the  frigate  had  somehow 
reached  out  to  him:  In  1940,  at  the  height  of  World  War 
II,  he  decreed  that  the  frigate  Constellation  should  be  the 
flagship  of  the  U.  S.  Atlantic  Fleet! 


* * * 

Long  after  our  remarkable  visit  to  Baltimore  on  a 
windy  October  night,  I got  to  know  the  remarkable  ship  a 
lot  better.  At  the  time,  I did  not  wish  to  clutter  my  uncon- 
scious mind  with  detailed  knowledge  of  her  history,  so  that 
Sybil  Leek  could  not  be  accused  of  having  obtained  data 
from  it. 

The  year  was  1782.  The  United  States  had  been  vic- 
torious in  its  war  for  independence,  and  the  new  nation 
could  well  afford  to  disband  its  armed  forces.  Commerce 
with  foreign  countries  thrived,  and  American  merchant 
ships  appeared  in  increasing  numbers  on  the  high  seas.  But 
a nation  then  as  now  is  only  as  strong  as  her  ability  to 
defend  herself  from  enemy  attacks.  Soon  the  marauding 
freebooters  of  North  Africa  and  the  Caribbean  made 
American  shipping  unsafe,  and  many  sailors  fell  into  pirate 
hands.  Finally,  in  1794,  Congress  decided  to  do  something 
about  this  situation,  and  authorized  the  construction  of  six 
men-of-war  or  frigates  to  protect  American  shipping 
abroad.  The  bill  was  duly  signed  by  George  Washington, 
and  work  on  the  ships  started  immediately.  However,  only 
three  of  these  ships,  meant  to  be  sister  ships,  were  built  in 
time  for  immediate  action.  The  first  frigate,  and  thus  the 
very  oldest  ship  in  the  U.  S.  Navy,  was  the  U.  S.  F.  Con- 
stellation, followed  by  the  Constitution  and  the  United 
States.  The  Constellation  had  three  main  masts,  a wooden 
hull,  and  thirty-six  guns,  while  the  other  two  ships  had 
forty-four  guns  each.  But  the  Constellation’s  builder,  David 
Stodder  of  Baltimore,  gave  her  his  own  patented  sharp  bow 
lines,  a feature  later  famous  with  the  Baltimore  Clippers. 
This  design  gave  the  ships  greater  speed,  and  earned  the 
Constellation,  after  she  had  been  launched,  the  nickname  of 
“Yankee  Race  Horse.’’ 

“Ship  of  Destiny”:  The  U.  S.  F.  Constellation 


159 


* * * 


On  June  26,1 798,  the  brand-new  frigate  put  out  to 
sea  from  Baltimore,  then  an  important  American  seaport, 
and  headed  for  the  Caribbean.  She  was  under  the  com- 
mand of  a veteran  of  the  Revolutionary  War  by  the  name 
of  Thomas  Truxtun,  who  was  known  for  his  efficiency  and 
stern  views  in  matters  of  discipline.  A month  after  the  ship 
had  arrived  in  the  area  to  guard  American  shipping,  she 
saw  action  for  the  first  time.  Although  the  North  African 
menace  had  been  subdued  for  the  time  being  in  the  wake 
of  a treaty  with  the  Barbary  chieftains,  the  French  menace 
in  the  Caribbean  was  as  potent  as  ever. 

Consequently,  it  was  with  great  eagerness  that  the 
crew  of  the  Constellation  came  upon  the  famous  French 
frigate  L’Insurgente  passing  near  the  island  of  Nevis  on  a 
balmy  February  day  in  1 799.  Within  an  hour  after  the  first 
broadside,  the  French  warship  was  a helpless  wreck.  This 
first  United  States  naval  victory  gave  the  young  nation  a 
sense  of  dignity  and  pride  which  was  even  more  pro- 
nounced a year  later  when  the  Constellation  met  up  with 
the  French  frigate  La  Vengeance.  Although  the  American 
ship  had  increased  its  guns  by  two,  to  a total  of  thirty- 
eight,  she  was,  still  outclassed  by  the  French  raider  sport- 
ing fifty-two  guns.  The  West  Indian  battle  between  the 
two  naval  giants  raged  for  five  hours.  Then  the  French 
ship,  badly  battered,  escaped  into  the  night. 

America  was  feeling  its  oats  now;  although  only  a 
handful  of  countries  had  established  close  relations  with  the 
new  republic,  and  the  recently  won  freedom  from  Britain 
was  far  from  secure,  Congress  felt  it  would  rather  fight 
than  submit  to  blackmail  and  holdup  tactics. 

Although  Captain  Truxtun  left  the  Constellation  at 
the  end  of  1801,  his  drill  manual  and  tactical  methods 
became  the  basis  for  all  later  U.  S.  Navy  procedures.  Next 
to  command  the  Constellation  was  Alexander  Murray, 
whose  first  mission  was  to  sail  for  the  Mediterranean  in 
1802  to  help  suppress  the  Barbary  pirates,  who  had  once 
again  started  to  harass  American  shipping.  During  the 
ensuing  blockade  of  Tripoli,  the  Constellation  saw  much 
action,  sinking  two  Arab  ships  and  eventually  returning  to 
her  home  port  in  late  1805  after  a peace  treaty  had  finally 
been  concluded  with  the  Arab  pirates. 

* * * 

For  seven  years  there  was  peace,  and  the  stately  ship 
lay  in  port  at  Washington.  Then  in  1812,  when  war  with 
Britain  erupted  again,  she  was  sent  to  Hampton  Roads, 
Virginia,  to  help  defend  the  American  installations  at  Fort 
Craney.  But  as  soon  as  peace  returned  between  the  erst- 
while colonies  and  the  former  motherland,  the  Barbary 
pirates  acted  up  again,  and  it  was  deemed  necessary  to  go 
to  war  against  them  once  more. 


CHAPTER  FIVE:  Famous  Ghosts 


This  time  the  Constellation  was  part  of  Stephen 
Decatur’s  squadron,  and  remained  in  North  African  waters 
until  1817  to  enforce  the  new  peace  treaty  with  Algeria. 

America  was  on  the  move,  expanding  not  only  over- 
land and  winning  its  own  West,  but  opening  up  new  trade 
routes  overseas.  Keeping  pace  with  its  expanding  merchant 
fleet  was  a strong,  if  small,  naval  arm.  Again,  the  Constella- 
tion guarded  American  shipping  off  South  America 
between  1819  and  1821,  then  sailed  around  the  Cape  to  the 
Pacific  side  of  the  continent,  and  finally  put  down  the  last 
Caribbean  pirates  in  1826.  Later  she  was  involved  in  the 
suppression  of  the  Seminole  Indian  rebellion  in  Florida, 
and  served  as  Admiral  Dallas’s  flagship.  In  1840  she  was 
sent  on  a wide-ranging  trip,  sailing  from  Boston  to  Rio  de 
Janeiro  under  the  command  of  Commodore  Lawrence 
Kearny.  From  there  she  crossed  the  Pacific  Ocean  to  open 
up  China  for  American  trade;  returning  home  via  Hawaii, 
Kearny  was  able,  in  the  proverbial  nick  of  time,  to  prevent 
a British  plot  to  seize  the  islands. 

The  British  warship  H.  M.  S.  Caryfoot  had  been  at 
anchor  at  Honolulu  when  the  Constellation  showed  up. 
Hastily,  the  British  disavowed  a pledge  by  King  Kame- 
hameha  III  to  turn  over  the  reins  of  government  to  the 
ship’s  captain,  and  native  rule  was  restored. 

For  a few  years,  the  famous  old  ship  rested  in  its 
berth  at  Norfolk,  Virginia.  She  had  deserved  her  temporary 
retirement,  having  logged  some  58,000  miles  on  her  last 
trip  alone,  all  of  it  with  sail  power  only.  In  1853  it  was 
decided  to  give  her  an  overhaul.  After  all,  the  Navy’s  old- 
est ship  was  now  fifty-five  years  old  and  showed  some 
stress  and  strain.  The  rebuilding  included  the  addition  of 
twelve  feet  to  her  length,  and  her  reclassification  as  a 
twenty -two -gun  sloop  of  war.  Most  of  her  original  timber 
was  kept,  repairing  and  replacing  only  what  was  worn  out. 
Once  more  the  veteran  ship  sailed  for  the  Mediterranean, 
but  the  handwriting  was  already  on  the  wall:  In  1858,  she 
was  decommissioned. 

Here  the  mysterious  force  that  refused  to  let  the  ship 
die  came  into  play  again. 

When  civil  war  seemed  inevitable  between  North  and 
South,  the  Constellation  was  brought  back  into  service  in 
1859  to  become  the  flagship  of  the  African  squadron.  Her 
job  was  intercepting  slave  ships  bound  for  the  United 
States,  and  she  managed  to  return  a thousand  slaves  to 
their  native  Africa. 

Outbreak  of  war  brought  her  back  home  in  1 861 , and 
after  another  stint  in  the  Mediterranean  protecting  United 
States  shipping  from  marauding  Confederate  raiders,  she 
became  a receiving  and  training  ship  at  Hampton  Roads, 
Virginia. 

Sailing  ships  had  seen  their  day,  and  the  inevitable 
seemed  at  hand:  Like  so  many  wooden  sailing  ships,  she 
would  eventually  be  destined  for  the  scrapheap.  But  again 
she  was  saved  from  this  fate.  The  Navy  returned  her  to 
active  service  in  1871  as  a training  ship  at  the  Annapolis 
Naval  Academy.  The  training  period  was  occasionally 


160 


interrupted  by  further  sea  missions,  such  as  her  errand  of 
mercy  to  Ireland  during  the  1880  famine.  Gradually,  the 
old  ship  had  become  a symbol  of  American  naval  tradition 
and  was  known  the  world  over.  In  1894,  almost  a hundred 
years  old  now,  the  still -seaworthy  man-of-war  returned  to 
Newport  for  another  training  mission.  By  1914,  her  home 
port  Baltimore  claimed  the  veteran  for  a centennial  celebra- 
tion, and  she  would  have  continued  her  glorious  career  as 
an  active  seagoing  ship  of  the  U.  S.  Navy,  forever,  had  it 
not  been  for  World  War  II.  More  important  matters  took 
precedence  over  the  welfare  of  the  Constellation,  which  lay 
forgotten  at  the  Newport  berth.  Gradually,  her  condition 
worsened,  and  ultimately  she  was  no  longer  capable  of 
putting  out  to  sea. 

When  the  plight  of  this  ancient  sailor  was  brought  to 
President  Roosevelt’s  attention,  he  honored  her  by  making 
her  once  again  the  flagship  of  the  U.  S.  Atlantic  Fleet.  But 
the  honor  was  not  followed  by  funds  to  restore  her  to  her 
erstwhile  glory.  After  the  war  she  was  berthed  in  Boston, 
where  attempts  were  made  to  raise  funds  by  allowing  visi- 
tors aboard.  By  1953,  the  ship  was  in  such  poor  condition 
that  her  total  loss  seemed  only  a matter  of  time. 

At  this  moment,  a committee  of  patriotic  Baltimore 
citizens  decided  to  pick  up  the  challenge.  As  a first  step, 
the  group  secured  title  to  the  relic  from  the  U.  S.  Navy. 

Next,  the  ship  was  brought  home  to  Baltimore,  like  a 
senior  citizen  finally  led  back  to  its  native  habitat.  All  the 
tender  care  of  a sentimental  association  was  lavished  on 
her,  and  with  the  help  of  volunteers,  the  restoration  com- 
mittee managed  to  raise  the  necessary  funds  to  restore  the 
Constellation  to  its  original  appearance,  inside  and  out.  At 
the  time  of  our  nocturnal  visit,  only  the  first  stage  of  the 
restoration  had  been  undertaken:  to  make  her  hull  seawor- 
thy so  she  could  safely  stay  afloat  at  her  berth.  In  the  sum- 
mer of  1968,  the  rest  of  the  work  would  be  undertaken,  but 
at  the  time  of  our  visit,  the  inside  was  still  a raw  assort- 
ment of  wooden  beams  and  badly  hinged  doors,  her  super- 
structure reduced  to  a mastless  flat  deck  and  the  original 
corridors  and  companionways  in  their  grime-covered  state. 
All  this  would  eventually  give  way  to  a spick-and-span 
ship,  as  much  the  pride  of  America  in  1968  as  she  was 
back  in  1797  when  she  was  launched. 

But  apart  from  the  strange  way  in  which  fate  seemed 
to  prevent  the  destruction  of  this  proud  sailing  ship  time 
and  again,  other  events  had  given  the  Constellation  the  rep- 
utation of  a haunted  ship.  This  fame  was  not  especially 
welcomed  by  the  restoration  committee,  of  course,  and  it 
was  never  encouraged,  but  for  the  sake  of  the  record,  they 
did  admit  and  document  certain  strange  happenings  aboard 
the  ship.  In  Donald  Stewart,  the  committee  had  the  ser- 
vices of  a trained  historian,  and  they  hastened  to  make  him 
the  curator  of  their  floating  museum. 

* * * 

Whether  or  not  any  psychic  occurrences  took  place 
aboard  the  Constellation  prior  to  her  acquisition  by  the 


The  U.  S.  F.  Constellation  today 


committee  is  not  known,  but  shortly  after  the  Baltimore 
group  had  brought  her  into  Baltimore  drydock,  a strange 
incident  took  place.  On  July  26,  1959,  a Roman  Catholic 
priest  boarded  the  ship,  which  was  then  already  open  to 
the  public,  although  not  in  very  good  condition.  The  priest 
had  read  about  the  famous  ship,  and  asked  curator  Donald 
Stewart  if  he  might  come  aboard  even  though  it  was  before 
the  10  A.M.  opening  hour  for  visitors.  He  had  to  catch  a 
train  for  Washington  at  eleven,  and  would  never  be  able  to 
face  his  flock  back  in  Detroit  without  having  seen  so  famed 
a vessel.  The  curator  gladly  waived  the  rules,  and  the  good 
father  ascended.  However,  since  Mr.  Stewart  was  in  the 
midst  of  taking  inventory  and  could  not  spare  the  time  to 
show  him  around,  he  suggested  that  the  priest  just  walk 
around  on  his  own. 

At  10:25,  the  priest  returned  from  below  deck,  look- 
ing very  cheerful.  Again  the  curator  apologized  for  not 
having  taken  him  around. 

“That’s  all  right,”  the  man  of  the  cloth  replied,  "the 
old  gent  showed  me  around.” 

“What  old  gent?”  the  curator  demanded.  “There  is 
nobody  else  aboard  except  you  and  me.” 

The  priest  protested.  He  had  been  met  by  an  old 
man  in  a naval  uniform,  he  explained,  and  the  fellow  had 
shown  him  around  below.  The  man  knew  his  ship  well,  for 

“Ship  of  Destiny^:  The  U.  S.  F.  Constellation 

161 


he  was  able  to  point  out  some  of  the  gear  and  battle 
stations. 

“Ridiculous,”  bellowed  Mr.  Stewart,  who  is  a very 
practical  Scotsman.  “Let’s  have  a look  below.” 

Both  men  descended  into  the  hull  and  searched  the 
ship  from  bow  to  stern.  Not  a living  soul  was  to  be  found 
outside  of  their  own  good  selves. 

When  they  returned  topside,  the  priest  was  no  longer 
smiling.  Instead,  he  hurriedly  left,  pale  and  shaken,  to 
catch  that  train  to  Washington.  He  knew  he  had  met  an  old 
sailor,  and  he  knew  he  was  cold  sober  when  he  did. 

Donald  Stewart’s  curiosity,  however,  was  aroused, 
and  he  looked  into  the  background  of  the  ship  a bit  more 
closely.  He  discovered  then  that  similar  experiences  had 
happened  to  naval  personnel  when  the  ship  was  at  New- 
port, Rhode  Island,  and  to  watchmen  aboard  the  Constella- 
tion. Nobody  liked  to  talk  about  them,  however.  On  one 
occasion  during  the  summer  a figure  was  seen  aboard  on 
the  gun  deck  after  the  ship  had  closed  for  the  day  and  no 
visitors  could  be  aboard.  The  police  were  called  to  rout  the 
burglar  or  intruder  and  they  brought  with  them  a police 
dog,  a fierce-looking  German  shepherd,  who  was  immedi- 
ately sent  below  deck  to  rout  the  intruder.  But  instead  of 
following  orders  as  he  always  did,  the  dog  stood  frozen  to 
the  spot,  shivering  with  fear,  hair  on  his  neck  bristling,  and 
refused  to  budge  or  go  below.  It  is  needless  to  point  out 
that  no  human  intruder  was  found  on  that  occasion. 

Another  time  a group  of  Sea  Scouts  was  holding  a 
meeting  aboard.  The  idea  was  to  give  the  proceedings  a 
real  nautical  flavor.  The  fact  that  the  ship  was  tied  up 
solidly  and  could  not  move  did  not  take  away  from  the 
atmosphere  of  being  aboard  a real  seagoing  vessel.  Sud- 
denly, as  if  moved  by  unseen  hands,  the  wheel  spun  from 
port  to  starboard  rapidly.  Everyone  in  the  group  saw  it, 
and  pandemonium  broke  loose.  There  wasn’t  any  wind  to 
account  for  a movement  of  the  ship.  Furthermore,  the 
spool  of  the  wheel  was  not  even  linked  to  the  rudder! 

The  Constellation  had  returned  to  Baltimore  in 
August  1955.  While  still  under  Navy  jurisdiction,  the  first 
of  the  unusual  incidents  took  place.  The  vessel  was  then 
tied  up  beside  the  U.  S.  S.  Pike  at  the  Naval  Training  Cen- 
ter. There  was  never  anyone  aboard  at  night.  The  dock  was 
well  guarded,  and  strangers  could  not  approach  without 
being  challenged.  Nevertheless,  a Navy  commander  and  his 
men  reported  that  they  had  seen  “someone  in  an  early  uni- 
form” walking  the  quarterdeck  at  night.  The  matter  was 
investigated  by  the  Baltimore  Sun,  which  also  published 
the  testimonies  of  the  Navy  personnel.  When  the  newspa- 
per sent  a photographer  aboard  the  Constellation,  however, 
every  one  of  his  photographs  was  immediately  seized  by 
naval  authorities  without  further  explanation. 

Jim  Lyons,  a longtime  Baltimore  resident,  was  able  to 
add  another  detail  to  the  later  uncanny  events  recorded  by 
the  curator.  During  a Halloween  meeting  of  the  Sea  Scouts, 

CHAPTER  FIVE:  Famous  Ghosts 
162 


which  was  followed  by  a dance,  one  of  the  girls  present 
had  an  unusual  experience.  Seated  on  a wall  bench,  she 
turned  to  speak  to  what  she  tho